Hamburg: Together with DNV and other partners, DNV customer Reederei Stefan Patjens is ready to retrofit LNG on board a 5,000 TEU container vessel. When completed, this would be the very first use of LNG as fuel on board a container ship and of LNG as fuel in worldwide trading.

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DNV President Tor Svensen

The vessel in mind is a four-year-old container ship, owned by German shipping company Reederei Stefan Patjens. Two of its auxiliary engines and its auxiliary boiler will be modified so they can be fuelled by LNG. As a result, the ship will be better prepared for sailing through ECAs (Emission Control Areas) and, when in harbour, it will have access to its own clean fuel for energy production.

“I’m sure a wide set of environmental improvements will be implemented in the shipping industry in the years to come,” says Stefan Patjens, the managing director and owner of Reederei Stefan Patjens. “We decided not to wait for these other improvements but instead to take part in initiating improvements ourselves. What we are introducing is not the final solution for container shipping, but it is a step forward - a new solution on its way towards an even higher target.”

DNV President Tor Svensen says: “DNV really appreciated the initiative taken by Mr Patjens and his competent staff. In addition to the expertise we represent, having classed all the 20 LNG-fuelled vessels in operation today, we have also teamed up with other competent partners like Maersk, MAN and TGE Marine Gas Engineering in order to realise this project.

“As with all industrial improvements,” Mr Svensen continues, “LNG will be introduced as a shipping fuel step by step. Our LNG rules were introduced in 2001, and the first LNG-fuelled coastal ferry started in ordinary service later that same year. We have learned from coastal shipping operations every year since. With this container ship project, we are ready to use LNG for global trades too.”

The project was kicked off some six months ago and the container vessel in mind will most likely have its first LNG on board in 2012.

As noted above, this is not a newbuilding but a retrofit, requiring modifications. By converting cargo space next to the engine room into a gas technology room and using additional LNG containers on deck, LNG will be supplied using only containers. The bunkering solution will be efficient and the loss of cargo space will be minimal.

“If cost-benefit was the only driver, we would not have initiated this project,” says Mr Patjens. “But our drivers are wider. We want to contribute to environmental improvements – improvements that will benefit the whole of society.”

LNG as fuel eliminates SOx emissions and reduces NOx emissions by almost 90%. CO2 emissions are also reduced significantly – by some 20 to 25%.

The project has been pre-introduced to the Hamburg Port Authorities, which were given a presentation on the project just a few days ago. “All measures to improve air quality are highly appreciated. So the realisation of this project would be a good step in the right direction,” said Wolfgang Becker, Environmental Director at the Hamburg Port Authority.