First LNG Bunkering Vessel Launched in Japan
Kawasaki Heavy Industries’ Sakaide Works has successfully launched Japan’s first LNG bunkering vessel. Ordered in July 2018, it will become the first vessel of its kind to operate in Japan and it is hoped that it will promote a shift to marine LNG for ships.
The 4,100 gross ton vessel will have a LNG cargo capacity of 3,500 m3. It has an overall length of 268 feet (81.7 m) and breadth of 59 feet (18 m).
Scheduled for delivery at the end of September 2020, the bunkering vessel will be based at JERA's Kawagoe Thermal Power Station and will operate ship-to-ship bunkering for LNG-fueled vessels.
The vessel will be owned and managed by Central LNG Shipping Japan Corporation, a joint venture established in May 2018 by Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. ("K" Line), JERA Co., Toyota Tsusho Corporation, and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line) to commercialize the LNG bunkering business in Japan.
The four companies also established the Central LNG Marine Fuel Japan Corporation, another joint venture to supply the LNG and to promote the LNG bunkering business in the Chubu (central) region of Japan.
When the companies formed the JV businesses in 2018, they said, “LNG is expected to become an important alternative to heavy fuel oil due to its low emission rate of air polluting substances and greenhouse gases.” They believe that the use of LNG will enable ships to meet increasingly stringent international regulations on emissions.