Orders for first LNG-fuelled coal carriers

Namura Shipbuilding plans to deliver one of the first LNG-fuelled coal carriers in 2023. Credit: Namura Shipbuilding Namura Shipbuilding plans to deliver one of the first LNG-fuelled coal carriers in 2023. Credit: Namura Shipbuilding

The first LNG-fuelled large coal carriers are expected to enter service in Japan in 2023 after MOL and NYK take delivery of two 95,000dwt bulkers. The two vessels are to be built by Oshima Shipbuilding and Namura Shipbuilding, respectively.

The two 95,000dwt vessels are expected to be delivered to Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) from Oshima Shipbuilding in April 2023 and to Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) from Namura Shipbuilding’s Imari yard, in western Japan in June 2023.

The orders were confirmed when MOL and NYK signed a contract with Japanese energy producer Kyushu Electric Power Co. Inc. (Kyuden) on 25 December.

The 235-metre long, 35-metre beam vessels will feature deck-mounted LNG fuel tanks, which will be located with the fuel gas supply system at the stern of the vessel. The arrangement means that the same cargo handling operations currently used with conventional coal carriers can be employed with the vessels at both loading and discharge ports. The deck mounted LNG tank will also minimise the impact of the fuel on the vessels' hold capacity.

The vessels are expected to reduce CO2 emissions by around 30% compared with conventional vessels, and lower NOx emissions by 80%, according to the companies. The vessels will meet the requirements of EEDI Phase 3. The introduction of LNG-fuelled vessels is an important step towards reducing emissions across the supply chain for Japan’s power generation industry.

The three companies have also agreed that the vessels will bunker LNG at the loading facility of a 75%-owned subsidiary of Kyuden, Kitakyushu Liquefied Natural Gas Co., Inc., using LNG sourced for Kyuden’s thermal power plants.

Thermal coal imports remain an important constituent of Japan’s energy supply, and coal currently makes up about 30% of the energy mix. Australia and Indonesia are the main sources of both steam and coking coal.

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