Norwegian ferry operator Fjord Line says high LNG prices is forcing it to rebuild two LNG-powered ferries to run on traditional marine gas oil (MGO).
Despite a strong peak season in 2022, Fjord Line says that increases in the price of LNG fuel has led to a “non-sustainable financial situation” for the company.
“The energy crisis, caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has led to extraordinary volatility and significant price increases in LNG – and the price increases have been far higher than for traditional and less sustainable energy sources at sea… This has led to a dramatically increase in the energy costs for Fjord Line’s two LNG-operated ships, and significantly above a financially sustainable level,” the company said in a statement.
Since this past fall, the two ships, the MS Stavangerfjord and MS Bergensfjord, have seen a reduction in the number of departures and increased crossing times, i.e. operating slower speeds.
“This is of course not the way Fjord Line intend to operate our routes or the desired customer offering. However, adjustments to our route operations were necessary as a consequence of the extraordinary high fuel costs especially on LNG,” Fjord Line said.
As a result, Fjord Line has decided to rebuild the two ships’ engines from single-fuel LNG to dual-fuel LNG/MGO, which will allow them to switch between LNG and MGO.
Delivered in 2013 and 2014, the ships were the first ferries in the world to operate exclusively on LNG fuel.
Rebuilding of MS Stavangerfjord will kick off this month and is expected to be completed by the end of May 2023. MS Bergensfjord will be rebuilt starting in February with completion expected in mid-June 2023.
The conversions will take place at Fosen Yard in Norway with engines supplied by Wärtsilä.
During the conversion period, Fjord Lines’ Bergen – Stavanger – Hirtshals and Hirtshals – Langesund service routes will be impacted.
“We are saddened by the need for the conversion towards use of MGO, despite Marine Gas Oil having a significant reduced emissions of sulphur than traditional fuel such as HFO (Heavy Fuel Oil). The conversion is however critical to maintain our customer offering, secure workplaces, and to secure the continued development of Fjord Line,” says CEO Brian Thorsted Hansen.
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