Koninklijke Vereniging - Société Royale



Waterfront Shipping celebrates first birthday

April 2017 marks one-year since Waterfront Shipping (WFS) welcomed seven of the world’s first deepsea vessels capable of running on methanol into its fleet.

The first three vessels were delivered in April, 2016 and the remaining four later that year. These innovative vessels have achieved accolades from the marine industry for their use of clean-burning methanol as an alternative marine fuel, WFS claimed. Over the past year, the seven 50,000 dwt methanol tankers – powered by 2-stroke dual-fuel engines capable of running on methanol, fuel oil, marine diesel oil or gas oil – have been operating safely and reliably across the globe.


“It has been exciting working with our shipping partners over the last few years to advance this new, clean technology,” said Jone Hognestad, former President of Waterfront Shipping, who retired in March, 2017. “Investing in methanol-based marine fuel is an important step in the right direction and reinforces our commitment to sustainable proven technology that provides environmental benefits and meets emission regulations.

“In 2012, we were looking to renew part of our fleet as timecharter vessel contracts naturally expired and to add new vessels to the fleet to meet increased product transportation needs. As an innovative and leading global marine transportation company and a wholly owned subsidiary of Methanex Corporation, the world’s largest producer and supplier of methanol, it was only natural that we investigated methanol as a future fuel for our vessels,”he explained.

WFS invited three shipping companies - Marinvest/ Skagerack Invest (Marinvest), Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), and Westfal­Larsen Management (WL) to collaborate on the project and in December, 2013 announced plans to commission the dual-fuel vessels.


The shipping company partners, engine manufacturer - MAN Diesel and Turbo and the two shipyards building the vessels, South Korea’s Hyundai Mipo Dockyard and Japan’s Minaminippon, worked closely to bring this innovative project to life. Since then, it has demonstrated and verified the potential to move the shipping industry forward, the company said.

Rolf Westfal-Larsen Jr, CEO Westfal­Larsen Management, explained: “As we were evaluating our investment in this technology and having the ‘Leikanger’ and ‘Lindanger’ built with an engine that can run on a fuel such as methanol, it was important that we assessed its adaptability and use.

“Now with our vessels in operation and in the waters, we have found methanol to be one of the best alternative fuels, due to its wide availability, the use of existing infrastructure and the simplicity of the engine design and ship technology.

Methanol shares similar characteristics with other marine fuels with respect to storage and handling and can even be bunkered by trucks if required.

"Using methanol as a marine fuel is a feasible and practical solution that supports the shipping industry and regulatory requirements. With the recent announcement by IMO for a global 0.5% sulfur cap for vessels worldwide effective 2020, methanol will soon be one of the very few fuel alternatives to MGO that can be utilised by existing modern vessels after relatively minor and cost effective retrofit modifications compared to, for instance, LNG, “ he said.

In April 2017, Marinvest celebrated two of its vessels together attaining over 3,000 running hours on clean burning methanol, and estimated that the use of methanol rather than conventional marine fuel had prevented more than 80,000 kg of sulfur oxide emissions. Results like this speak for the environmental benefits of using methanol as an alternative marine fuel by significantly reducing the emissions of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, the company said.

Patrik Mossberg, chairman, Marinvest/ Skagerack Invest, said: ”With the growing demand for cleaner marine fuel, methanol is a promising alternative marine fuel and helps the shipping industry meet increasingly strict emissions regulations with relatively minor and cost-effective modifications to existing vessels.

“We are proud to invest and have two of our joint venture vessels, ‘Mari Jone’ and ‘Mari Boyle’, built with the first-of­its kind MAN B&W ME-LGI 2-stroke dual-fuel engine. Our overall focus in the development of the dual-fuel system concept has been safety and engine reliability. We have found the technology for handling methanol is well developed and offers a safe dual-fuel solution for low­flashpoint liquid fuels.
“Safety measures include all methanol fuel equipment and distribution systems double-walled and ventilated with dry air, ensuring there is no direct contact with methanol and safe for operators and engineers. Any operational switch between methanol and other fuels is seamless and records a slightly better efficiency compared to conventional HFO-burning engines. Our vessels have regularly been running on methanol and we foresee this continuing going forward,” he said.
Akio Mitsuta, MOL’s senior managing executive officer, said; “Investing in technology that encourages the use of a fuel like methanol that significantly reduces emissions is a step forward for both our company and the shipping industry. This is the reason we were very pleased to partner with Waterfront Shipping and others to have three of our vessels - ‘Cajun Sun’, ‘Taranaki Sun’ and ‘Manchac Sun’- built with the first of its kind MAN dual-fuel technology.”

“Tests in blending water with methanol also show promising results in terms of meeting the IMO’s NOx Tier III requirements. Such a new Tier III solution could become a game changer. Further tests are scheduled in the near future to conclude if this could be a new way forward,” added René Sejer Laursen, sales & promotion manager, MAN Diesel & Turbo.




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