The 4 newbuilds will be powered by methanol. Image Credit: WFS
A group of industry stakeholders has come together to invest in four 49,000 dwt tankers that will be capable of being powered by methanol bunkers.
A joint announcement by Waterfront Shipping Company Ltd. (WFS), Marinvest/Skagerack Invest (Marinvest), IINO Kaiun Kaisha, Ltd. (IINO), Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (Mitsui), and the NYK Group (NYK), stated that the vessels will be delivered in 2019 and built in Korea at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard.
"WFS will charter the four vessels to replace older vessels and support growing demand for methanol around the world," the announcement stated.
Two of the vessels will be owned in a joint venture between WFS and Marinvest, one will be owned by NYK, and the fourth will be owned in a joint venture between IINO and Mitsui.
The new vessels will join the existing seven methanol-fueled vessels chartered by WFS which, following their delivery in 2016, were the world’s first ocean-going methanol dual-fuel ships.
Ryuichi Osonoe, Director and Managing Executive Officer, IINO.
Investing in the next generation of fuels is one way we’ll continue to meet regulations while maintaining the efficiency of our operations.
"With seven engines already in operation and proven in the field, this new order confirms the ME-LGI concept as a mature technology. Since this dual-fuel engine entered the market in 2016, its price has dropped considerably, which makes it an even more attractive propulsion option. Allied with its environmental credentials and convenience of use when employing methanol as a fuel, we are confident the ME-LGI will continue its promising progress,” said René Sejer Laursen, Promotion Manager, MAN Diesel & Turbo.
With a global 0.50% sulfur cap on marine fuel coming into force from January 1, 2020, interest in low sulfur alternatives to traditional oil-based bunkers has grown in recent years.
"With the growing demand for cleaner marine fuels to meet more stringent emission regulations, we’re seeking ways to reduce our environmental footprint," said Ryuichi Osonoe, Director and Managing Executive Officer at IINO.
"Investing in the next generation of fuels is one way we’ll continue to meet regulations while maintaining the efficiency of our operations."
While interest in methanol bunkers to date has lagged behind the likes of liquefied natural gas (LNG), methanol has a number of attractive qualities.
As one of the top five chemical commodities shipped around the world each year it is already found in many of the world's seaports, and as it is a liquid fuel, its onboard handling characteristics are similar to traditional distillate fuels.
"We are proud to be partnering with WFS to advance methanol as a sustainable marine fuel and be part of an innovative solution that meets the needs of the shipping industry and contributes to a more sustainable future," says Takeshi Setozaki, Chief Operating Officer, Mitsui.
A recent white paper published by Chevron Marine Lubricants has examined the performance of methanol bunkers and marine lubricants.