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PSV Delivered to Project to Become World's First Ammonia-Fueled Ship

vessel to be be converted as first ammonia-fueled ship
12-year-old MMA Leveque is targeted for the first conversion to ammonia-fueled operations (MMA Offshore photo)

Published Mar 23, 2022 8:04 PM by The Maritime Executive

An effort designed to launch the world’s first ammonia-fueled ship is moving forward with a 246-foot platform supply vessel targeted for the conversion handed over to the project. The initiative, which is designed to demonstrate the current ability to operate a ship almost entirely on ammonia, is part of a challenge by Fortescue Future Industries, the green technology unit of Australian mining giant Fortescue, to accelerate the conversion of trucks, locomotives, drill rigs, ship and planes to operate on green fuels.

Australia-based MMA Offshore reported that it has completed the sale of its 12-year-old supply ship MMA Leveque to Fortescue Future Industries. Built in 2010 in Indonesia the 3,100 dwt vessel currently operates on four diesel-electric Cummins main engines. It was sold for $7.75 million to become the demonstration ship for the ammonia conversion project. It will be the first ship that FFI has converted as part of its efforts to demonstrate different modes of transportation using green fuels.

“We are excited to continue working with FFI, with the MMA Leveque now joining Fortescue Future Industries, where the goal is to transform the vessel to run almost totally on green ammonia,” said David Ross, Managing Director of MMA.

Last fall, Fortescue chairman Dr. Andrew Forrest challenged the shipping industry to accelerate its move to net-zero operations. To demonstrate that the capabilities existed, he said the company would convert a ship to ammonia-fueled operations within a year. Earlier in 2021, the company reported it achieved successful combustion of blended ammonia fuel in a locomotive and committed to converting its entire fleet of nearly 100 ore carriers by 2040 at the latest.

Dr. Forrest announced the plans to operate the PSV on ammonia speaking at Transport Day during the COP26 conference. Dr. Forrest said, “This vessel will show the shipping industry the power of a vessel fueled by green ammonia in real-world conditions. It is world-leading technology and will assist in providing the shipping industry with the practical know-how to decarbonize completely.”

Fortescue is investing heavily in research and development to transform its operations on road, rail, and sea with zero pollution fuels. Forrest believes it will be possible to achieve net-zero operations before 2040 and during his speech called for the entire shipping industry to embrace the 2040 target.