Engie Zeebrugge, the world’s first purpose-built LNG bunkering vessel, arrived in Zeebrugge at the beginning of April after delivery from Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction in Busan. She is now providing a weekly bunkering service to the world’s first LNG-fueled PCTCs,UECC’s Auto Eco and Auto Energy – making her the world’s first LNG vessel to perform regular ship-to-ship fuel transfers.
Engie Zeebrugge is jointly owned by Engie, Mitsubishi Corporation, NYK Line and Fluxys. With an LNG capacity of 5,000 cubic meters, she will service for all types of shipping customers in Northern Europe under the brand Gas4Sea.
LNG is emerging as the leading alternative to traditional marine fuels. Currently, the conventional bunker market amounts to approximately 250 million tons of heavy fuel oil per year. The challenge in helping LNG gain a share of this market is to develop bunkering infrastructure, and this requires the collaboration of many stakeholders – energy firms, manufacturers, regulatory bodies, port authorities and shipping companies. The first ship-to-ship bunkering operations are a key milestone in the development of this new market.
Global operating standards are also critical for a global shipping industry. Last year, the ports of Antwerp, Rotterdam, Singapore, Zeebrugge, Ulsan and Jacksonville joined together to harmonize their standards and procedures for LNG bunkering. The Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel, an industry body established to promote safety and best practices, is formulating a comparable set of global standards incorporating guidance from IACS.