Dutch shipbuilding group Damen has announced receiving contract from the Estonian natural gas company Eesti Gaas for the construction of the first short-sea LNG bunkering vessels to operate in the Baltic Sea.
The vessel, which is scheduled for delivery in September 2020, will be used to provide ship-to-ship LNG bunkering services to vessels, particulary in the passenger, RoRo and RoPax sectors that require fast turnaround times. Its construction is also expected to help accelerate the wider adoption of LNG as a clean-burning alternative fuel in the North-east Baltic Sea
The 100-meter bunkering vessel will be built at Damen Yichang Shipyard in China and will have capacity for 6,000m³ of LNG in two type-C tanks at -163° C.
Currently, Eesti Gaas is refuelling the LNG fuelled RoPax vessel Megastar by truck, which requires eleven trucks for for a single bunkering operation. The new bunkering vessel, however, will be able to resupply the ferry in a single operation while at berth, loading and unloading passengers and vehicles. Ports will also be spared the additional traffic generated by moving LNG by road.
The LNG bunkering vessel will be designed to meet the requirements of ICE class 1A certification and to achieve green ship notation. Damen says a dual fuel propulsion system will be used for the management of the Boil-Off Gas (BOG) in combination with a gas burner, and the interior of the vessel will feature high-quality accommodation for her crew.
Eesti Gaas will operate the vessel under a long-term charter from its parent company Infortar AS, which will be the owner of the vessel.
Since 2016, Eesti Gaas has expanded its LNG transport and bunkering capacity by entering long-term LNG supply contracts with shipping companies and other industrial consumers.
“This new vessel will help us to move significantly closer towards a clean and pollution-free Baltic Sea,” said Ain Hanschmidt, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Eesti Gaas. “With the introduction of the first LGC 6000 LNG scheduled for 2020, vessel operators in the region can now consider adopting LNG propulsion systems in their new and existing vessels, confident that they can access fast and efficient bunkering services. We look forward to it serving an increasing number of vessels using LNG as a marine fuel and thus reducing significantly their CO2, NOx, SOx and particulate matter emissions.”