MOL and its group company Ferry Sunflower are planning to order the first two LNG-fuelled ferries in Japan
MOL plans to order the vessels – tentatively named Sunflower Kurenai and Sunflower Murasaki – from Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. in December. Ferry Sunflower will charter the ferries after delivery, launching them on its Osaka-Beppu route from the end of 2022 through the first half of 2023, as replacements for vessels currently in service.
MOL said in a statement “The ferries will be equipped with high-performance dual fuel engines and will provide passengers with comfortable accommodations and reliable schedules. They will be quieter than current vessels, ensuring smoother, more relaxing travel. The use of LNG fuel will achieve excellent environmental performance, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20% compared to current vessels, and virtually eliminating sulphur oxide emissions.”
Below is a comparison between the newbuild vessels and the vessels currently in service, Sunflower Ivory and Sunflower Cobalt:
Passenger capacity: 763 710
Loading capacity (13 m trucks) 136 92
Speed: 22.5 knots 22.4 knots
LOA: 199.9 m 153.0 m
Gross tonnage: 17,300 tonnes 9,245 tonnes
The ferries are part of the environmental impact-reducing ferry initiative (ISHIN-II), an aspect of the ISHIN Next – MOL Smart Ship Project.
MOL said that it is “developing the technology for LNG-fuelled vessels and establishing safe operation through development, construction, and operation of these new ferries, and promoting the wider use of LNG fuel”.
The project has been adopted for the 2019 energy conservation rating system for coastal ships, a demonstration test program aimed at enhancing the operational efficiency of coastal ships backed by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.