An innovative series of large container vessels capable of operating on carbon-neutral methanol are to be built to ABS Class.

Maersk methanol vessels are under construction

Ordered by Maersk, the eight vessels will be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries and come with an option for a further four vessels.

“Sustainable global trade is an urgent priority not just for our industry, but the entire world and this landmark project starts to make this dream a reality,” said Christopher J. Wiernicki, ABS chairman, president, and CEO.

“More than anything, decarbonizing shipping requires collaboration and innovation across the ecosystem, so I am pleased to have ABS and its leading expertise with us on this journey,” said Palle Laursen, senior vice president, chief technical officer at A.P. Moller - Maersk. “Our methanol-fuelled vessels will play a significant role in reaching our commitment of 60 percent CO₂ fleet reduction by 2030 compared to 2008 levels.”

Dual fuel engine

Capable of operating on carbon-neutral e-methanol or sustainable bio-methanol, the vessels come with a dual fuel engine setup, which also enables operation on conventional low sulphur fuel.

They will have a nominal capacity of approximately 16,000 containers. The series will replace older vessels, generating annual CO2 emissions savings of around 1m tons and offer customers carbon-neutral transportation at scale.

Hyundai Mipo Dockyards is currently constructing an ABS Class 2100 TEU feeder vessel for Maersk that will have dual engine technology enabling it to sail on either methanol or traditional very low sulphur fuel. Delivery is expected by mid-2023.

ABS has published guidance on Methanol as Marine Fuel, evaluating the challenges in the design and operation of methanol-fuelled vessels.