Swedish shipowner Stena Line will not progress with its first dual-fuel retrofit despite receiving funding from the German government.
The project to convert the 38,000 gt ro-pax ferry Mecklenburg-Vorpommern for LNG received a grant from the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure last week. But in a statement released on Monday, Stena Line said that it was not going ahead, citing discussions around “budget, technical challenges and both operational and financial risk”.
Stena Line trade director Germany Ron Gerlach said that the company was “by no means ruling out gas as an alternative fuel for our vessels”. The company has ordered a series of ro-pax vessels from Avic International shipyard in China that will be LNG-ready, with the final ship expected to operate on gas from its delivery in 2021.
“We will stay open with regard to technologies at hand in order to allow us full flexibility in our European route network,” said Mr Gerlach. “We will also continue to focus our efforts on other projects such as looking at expanding our battery project on Stena Jutlandica to further vessels and to extend our onshore power supply solutions to include more of our ports.”
At 22 years’ old, the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern would have been one of the oldest vessels to be retrofitted for LNG. The age of a vessel can affect the viability of a conversion by limiting payback time and because of the constraints of installed engine technology.
Stena Line is familiar with challenging retrofits, having converted four Wärtsilä four-stroke engines for methanol fuel on board the then 14-year-old cruise ferry Stena Germanica from 2015.