MOL Advances LNG Agenda with New Ferry Plans


Published Nov 20, 2019 6:48 PM by The Maritime Executive

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and its group company Ferry Sunflower have announced plans to construct the first two LNG-fueled ferries in Japan.

The 17,300 ton, 200-meter  vessels will have capacity for 763 passengers and 136 trucks and a speed of 22.5 knots. The ferries will be equipped with high-performance dual fuel engines.

MOL plans to order the vessels from Mitsubishi Shipbuilding in December. Ferry Sunflower will charter the ferries after delivery and launch them on its Osaka-Beppu route from the end of 2022 through the first half of 2023, as replacements for vessels currently in service.

The vessels are tentatively named the Sunflower Kurenai and the Sunflower Murasaki. The new vessels' names are derived from the Kurenai Maru and Murasaki Maru, which MOL's corporate forerunner Osaka Shosen Kaisha launched on the Osaka-Beppu route in the 1910s. 

MOL established a Bunker Business Office to accelerate its initiatives on LNG and is taking an integrated approach to entering the business of supplying LNG and other fuels. Earlier this month, MOL and Toho Gas conducted the first LNG bunkering in the Port of Nagoya supplying the tugboat Ishin. The tugboat was bunkered in the Kobe City Port in September. Ishin is owned by MOL and operated by Nihon-Tug-Boat. 

In October, Total launched its first large LNG bunker vessel, following a long-term charter contract between made with MOL in February 2018. Touted as the world's largest bunkering ship, she is larger than Nauticor's 7,500 cubic meter vessel Kairos. After delivery in 2020, the 18,600 cubic meter bunker vessel will operate in Northern Europe where she will supply LNG to commercial vessels, including 300,000 tons per year for CMA CGM’s nine ultra-large newbuild container ships in Europe-Asia trade, for a period of at least 10 years.