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In connection with the Europort 2017 exhibition for maritime technology in Rotterdam, Wessels Reederei – the well-known German shipping company – signed a letter of intent with MAN Diesel & Turbo regarding the conversion of three of its fleet to dual-fuel gas operation.
The three ships are sisters to the ‘Wes Amelie’, a 1,036-teu feeder container ship with an MAN 8L48/60B main engine that was retrofitted to a multi-fuel, four-stroke MAN 51/60DF unit earlier in 2017. The retrofit enables dual-fuel operation and is the first such conversion of its type the world has ever seen.
Stefan Eefting – Senior Vice President, MAN Diesel & Turbo and Head of MAN PrimeServ Diesel in Augsburg – said: “The Wes Amelie project was really a pioneering moment in the European container-feeder market and shows clearly that existing MAN engines can be converted to LNG operation with a tremendous effect on exhaust emissions and the environment.”
Indeed, MAN Diesel & Turbo reports that the dual-fuel conversion has enabled the Wes Amelie to significantly reduce its SOx emissions by >99%, NOx by approximately 90%, and CO2 by up to 20%. The vessel now meets both the Tier II and Tier III emission requirements set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Eefting praised Wessels’ cooperative spirit and concluded: “One of the key reasons the Wes Amelie was selected for conversion was its ‘multiplier effect’, that is, its many sister ships that would facilitate follow-up projects at reduced costs owing to the experiences gained from the first project. I believe the signing of this letter of intent validates our approach and points a realistic way towards decarbonisation and a climate-neutral shipping industry by 2050.”
When selecting a suitable vessel for conversion, special attention is paid to the scalability of the engineering services as well as the development costs, reducing significantly the costs for follow-up projects. In this respect, the ‘Wes Amelie’ has 23 sister ships, 16 of them structurally identical, which would allow follow-up projects to be easily implemented, facilitating a multiplier effect.
The term ‘Maritime Energy Transition’ stems from the German expression ‘Energiewende’ and encapsulates MAN Diesel & Turbo’s call to action to reduce emissions and establish natural gas as the fuel of choice in global shipping. It promotes 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.
Launched in 2016 after COP 21, the initiative has since found broad support within the shipping industry and German politics. Stemming from the success of the ‘Wes Amelie’ project, and to encourage more shipowners to follow its example, MAN Diesel & Turbo pledged a total discount of 2 million Euro for 10 such LNG-retrofits at the international Our Ocean 2017 conference in Malta recently.
With a current fleet of 37 ships, Wessels Reederei is one of the largest managers of coastal vessels globally. It has a fleet of some 28 coasters, four container and five multipurpose vessels and is based in Haren/Ems, Germany.