First boxship LNG conversion set for May

Wes Amelie: more feeders tipped for DF/LNG conversion ? Wes Amelie: more feeders tipped for DF/LNG conversion

The world’s first conversion of a container feeder ship to dual fuel propulsion will be carried out in May and could be followed by three more ships, according to owner Wessels Reederei.

The government-backed work on the 152m long, 1,036 teu, 10,585gt feeder Wes Amelie had been originally planned for last year. However, Wessels general manager and head of business development and special projects Christian P. Hoepfner, told The Motorship this week that market conditions and financing had delayed the project, reports Germany correspondent Tom Todd. Hoepfner said the delay was not critical since ship-to-ship service by three different LNG suppliers could not be guaranteed until mid-2017.

The existing MAN B&W 8L48/60B engine on the Wes Amelie was not being replaced but converted into a 8L51/60 DF engine. A complete gas system including gas-handling room and gas valve unit, along with a 490m3 LNG tank, are being installed.

German Dry Docks (GDD) in Bremerhaven beat three other yards to win the work. GDD and associate MWB Power will support MAN Diesel & Turbo while GDD will also undertake pipe work, LNG tank installation and steel section work in the bow. Wessels said because of the extreme LNG temperatures special stainless steel alloys were being used for the pipes and tank.

GDD was also assisting gas system supplier TGE Marine Gas Engineering in the installation of gas and gas regulator equipment while BV was classifying the work. SMB Naval Architects & Consultants were also involved, Wessels said

Unlike Germany’s first LNG conversion project - the ground-breaking 2015 retrofit of the passenger ferry Ostfriesland - Wes Amelie will not be lengthened. But it will lose about 25 14-tonne container slots, Hoepfner reported.

The project is being supported by the German Transport Ministry. Earlier reports said Berlin was putting more than €1 million towards the project, which is designed to promote not only emission reductions but also “the development of an efficient LNG infrastructure in Germany”. Wessels has said external support is “fundamentally important” for such pioneering projects.

Hoepfner told this correspondent that if the Wes Amelie project is successful, “it is our aim to also re-equip three sister ships – the Type SSW 1000 Wes Janine, Wes Gesa and Wes Carina”.

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