Dutch bag new German LNG conversion

<i>Münsterland</i> follows <i>Ostfriesland</i> into LNG conversion (Photo: AG Ems P.Andry) Münsterland follows Ostfriesland into LNG conversion (Photo: AG Ems P.Andry)

Dutch shipbuilders have won the third prestigious LNG project to be launched by Emden-based shipping group AG Ems - which pioneered German passenger ship LNG propulsion in 2015, writes Tom Todd.

Koninklijke Niestern Sander bagged what appears to have been a much contested tender for the €17.5 million conversion of the 78.38m loa RoPax ferry Münsterland after what yard MD Wietse Holmann described as “long negotiations but “fair and open talks”.

The converted Münsterland is expected to enter service early 2021. It will be the third LNG DF ship in the AG Ems fleet and the first to be converted to LNG by a Dutch shipyard. It follows the conversion by Bremen’s BVT in 2015 of the almost identical 78.7m loa Ostfriesland - the first German flag LNG ship. In the same year AG Ems also introduced Germany’s first LNG-driven newbuilding – the 83m loa Helgoland after its completion by Fassmer.

AG Ems said it learned a lot from both projects.

Also significant is that Münsterland is the first of the three projects to win approval for Berlin Government funding, as distinct from German state and EU funding. How much funding has not yet been revealed.

On the technical side, AG Ems spokeswoman Corina Habben told The Motorship the converted Münsterland would, like the two previous LNG ships, carry two Wärtsilä 6L20 dual-fuel main generating sets. It was not stated but presumably it will, like its predecessors, also be fitted with Wärtsilä LNGPacs comprising onboard LNG bunkering, tanks, and handling equipment.

The Münsterland Wärtsilä units will each be of 1065 kWe and supply power to the onboard network and the propulsion system as well as to the ship’s Veth Type Jet 2-K-1300 422kW bow thruster. A Scania-based 232kW auxiliary unit will exclusively supply onboard power.

The converted ship will also boast two Veth azimuthing pod drives Type VL-1250i-CR with counter-rotating four blade (front) and five blade (aft) propellers, Habben reported.

Again like predecessor Ostfriesland, Münsterland will get a new 15m long stern to house the LNG tank and propulsion system. It will also provide the ship, which carries 1200 passengers and 55 cars, with room for 15 more cars, two new public areas and a bigger sun deck.

Munsterland, built in 1986 by the Martin Janssen Schiffswerft, will stay in service until September 2020 with its current two Wärtsilä 8R 22 MD engines before conversion at Niestern Sander.

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