German shipping line Hapag-Lloyd marked a milestone in the conversion of Sajir to an LNG-fuelled vessel, when a fuel tank was lifted by a floating crane into the 15,00-TEU container ship’s hull
Preparations at HuaRun DaDong Dockyard in Shanghai for the installation of the 1,300-tonne fuel tank into the ship’s hold had been underway for three weeks.
The tank will now be welded to the hold in the weeks ahead. While this is happening, the main engine and the auxiliary diesel engines will be converted to dual-fuel operation for LNG and very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO).
The process of retrofitting Sajir for LNG propulsion began on 2 September at the shipyard. This is the largest container ship yet to be converted to LNG, demonstrating the maturing infrastructure and growing commercial viability of the fuel.
Plans call for Sajir to complete its conversion phase and initial test voyages in early 2021 before being redeployed in the Asia-North Europe trade lane.
The conversion is not inexpensive, with a price tag of US$35M, but it is a key element of Hapag-Lloyd’s sustainability strategy. Using LNG has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by 15 to 30% and sulphur dioxide and particulate matter emissions by more than 90%.
“With this unique pilot project, we hope to learn for the future and to pave the way for large ships to be retrofitted to use this promising alternative fuel,” said Hapag-Lloyd fleet managing director Richard von Berlepsch. “However, our long-term goal continues to be CO2-neutral shipping operations using synthetic natural gas (SNG),” added Mr von Berlepsch.