Unifeeder charters shortsea boxship retrofitted for LNG fuel
GERMAN ship owner Wessels Reederei has chartered to Unifeeder the duel-fuelled, 1,000-TEU Wes Amelie that has been retrofitted with a LNG fuel system.
The container ship will service multimodal shipments on the carrier's shortsea routes between Rotterdam, the Baltics and Poland.
Head of shortsea sales in Europe for Unifeeder Florian Ambach told London's Loadstar the carrier would bunker in Rotterdam for the "time being", since it is the only available fuelling facility.
"We want to increase the number of vessels under LNG technology, however that depends on when shipowners will start to convert more vessels," said Mr Ambach. "Unifeeder sees the deployment of this vessel as a big step forward as LNG fuel offers a huge environmental improvement compared with fuel oil."
Shortsea director Niels Kjaer-Richardt said while technical solutions were not yet 'optimal", it was vital to search for options, adding Unifeeder was proud to be a "front runner" in regard to LNG. The Wes Amelie would be trading in the Special Emissions Control Area (Seca) of northern Europe.
According to Unifeeder, Europe's largest feeder and shortsea operator, pollutant emissions are "drastically" reduced, as LNG-fuelled vessels provide a 99 per cent cut in sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions, 90 per cent fewer nitrogen oxides (NOx) and CO2 emissions are 20 per cent lower.
Wessels' general manager Christian Hoepfner argued that owners and vessel operators needed greater incentives to give the transition to LNG more impetus.
"The actual retrofit and its financing is only one side of the story. We need an LNG infrastructure in place providing easy access to LNG as bunker, and LNG has to be cheaper than the usual petrofuels."
International Chamber of Shipping policy chief Simon Bennett told London's Loadstar that LNG as a clean fuel has "clear advantages", particularly with regards to SOx. @FAXTEXT Mr Bennett was quoted as saying: "LNG is part of a multi-fuel proposition to help in the medium term, and although it won't decarbonise the industry it gives time to look into other fuel options for the long-term."