German Shipowner to Convert Containership to LNG

Photo: Wessels Reederei
Photo: Wessels Reederei

German shipowner Wessels Reederei says it has been given funds to convert one of its feeder containerships to liquified natural gas, marking the first of what could be many conversions in the company’s fleet.

Last week, the company was awarded a seven-figure grant from the German government to retrofit their containership Wes Amelia from heavy fuel oil to clean burning LNG – a first-of-its-kind project, the company claims.

Wessels Reederei says they have already been working with engine manufacturer MAN Diesel & Turbo and gas specialist TGW Marine Gas Engineering on conversion options.

The 1,000 TEU Wes Amelia was launched in 2011 and operates in the North and Baltic Seas. The vessel has 23 sister ships, 16 of which are structurally identical, which opens options for follow-up projects in the future. The company is hoping that the project will showcase LNG as a viable marine fuel, which could lead to the development of infrastructure that will make LNG more readily available on European shipping and trade routes.

Wessels Reederei says that due to the long delivery time of the LNG tanks, the retroffit will not begin until the fourth quarter of 2016.

Parliamentary State Secretary Enak Ferlemann adds: “With this funding measure, the federal government continues its steady contribution to the development of an efficient LNG infrastructure in Germany. Our goal with this new technology is to significantly reduce the CO2 and pollutant emissions at sea. With the LNG conversion already integrated in ships currently in service, in collaboration with the maritime sector, we provide an important impulse for the development of «Made in Germany’ LNG technology.”