Tote celebrates three years of LNG sailing

The 'Isla Bella', launched in October 2015, is powered by the world's fiurst dual-fuel LNG two-stroke engine (credit: MAN Energy Solutions/Tote The 'Isla Bella', launched in October 2015, is powered by the world's fiurst dual-fuel LNG two-stroke engine (credit: MAN Energy Solutions/Tote

The owner of the world’s first LNG-fuelled two-stroke engines has praised the performance of the MAN ME-GI engines after three years of powering 3,100 teu containerships ‘Isla Bella’ and Perla del Caribe’.

The sister ships serve the route between Jacksonville in the US and San Juan in Puerto Rico and replaced older vessels powered by steam turbines. They received the first and second ME-GI engines from MAN Energy Solutions. Three years later, the company has received orders for more than 240 dual-fuel two-stroke engines and has well over 100 in operation.

“Acting as a pioneer and adopting new technology early always has an element of risk,” said Peter Keller, executive vice president of Tote. “But our belief in the ME-GI concept has proved justified.”

Wayne Jones, chief sales officer and member of the executive board, MAN Energy Solutions, added: “Tote acts as an important reference for how to execute dual-fuel propulsion optimally. We strongly promote a global turn to gas, driven by the IMO, and a common approach by the shipping industry and politics to invest in infrastructure development and retrofits.”

Both Tote and MAN Energy Solutions took extra precautions to ensure that the ground-breaking engines worked well. Tote for example pre-assigned chief engineers to the new vessels who also acted as inspectors as the ships were being built by NASSCO in San Diego, while MAN invested in a significant presence both at the shipyard and during the first few months of sailing.

Tote worked extensively with the US Coast Guard and US Maritime Administration to ensure that the regulatory framework for LNG operation and bunkering were in place, such as the ability to bunker while loading and unloading cargo (simultaneous operation). The vessels take on bunker from a specially designed skid that enables five truckloads of LNG to be delivered in five hours.

In the latest upgrade to Tote’s LNG operation, a specially designed, fully automated bunker barge has been delivered and will soon make bunkering even faster, at around three hours. Tote’s Alaska division has also contracted with MAN’s after-sales division PrimeServ to convert ro-ro vessels North Star and Midnight Sun to dual-fuel LNG operation, each to run on four retrofitted MAN 58/64 engines.

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