Methanex considers more methanol-fuelled vessels

Fifth in series 'Mari Boyle', owned by Waterfront Shipping/Marinvest and powered by methanol-burning ME-LGI engines Fifth in series 'Mari Boyle', owned by Waterfront Shipping/Marinvest and powered by methanol-burning ME-LGI engines

Leading methanol producer Methanex has revealed that it is likely to order a further two chemical carriers with methanol-fuelled two-stroke engines after chartering the first seven vessels with such engines earlier this year.

Methanex subsidiary Waterfront Shipping ships methanol from Trinidad, the US (Louisiana), Egypt and New Zealand, vessels, carrying methanol one way and clean petroleum on their return leg. As reported the company has chartered vessels, built to its own design, employing MAN Diesel & Turbo ME-LGI engines running on both diesel and methanol.

Waterfront Shipping has 50% ownership in two vessels, co-owned with Marinvest, while Mitsui OSK owns three ships and Westfal-Larsen Management the remaining two. The sixth vessel was delivered around three weeks ago and the final ship is due to be delivered on 10 November.

Jone Hognestad, president of Waterfront Shipping, explained that the company and its fellow owners had initially placed a firm order for six vessels with an option for a further three. “In hindsight, we should have ordered all nine vessels,” said Hognestad. “We have more tonnage than expected.”

Hognestad said that the company had chartered four more conventionally powered methanol carriers to take up the excess tonnage. Speaking to The Motorship, he suggested that the further two vessels could be ordered within the next two years, dependent on building costs – which he predicted could fall even lower than today’s vessel prices.

Meanwhile the company reported that methanol operation using the ME-LGI engines had proved straightforward and unproblematic on the first six vessels already in service. One vessel has already completed a full three days on continuous methanol operation and the company is using methanol as often as possible – to enable running time for the prototype engines as well as to familiarise crew with their operation.

The three vessels owned by Mitsui OSK Lines were built at the company’s subsidiary Minaminippon in Japan, with the remainder built at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in South Korea.

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