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Singapore-Based Project Seeks to Develop Ammonia Bunker Vessel Design 

ammonia bunker vessel
Collaboration seeks to develop a vessel capable of handling ammonia bunkering (Paxocean)

Published Aug 16, 2022 8:27 PM by The Maritime Executive

Efforts are continuing to develop the technologies and infrastructure that will support the shipping industry’s transition to future, environmentally-sensitive, alternative fuels. With ammonia continuing to lead as the most promising solution, a growing number of projects are getting underway to consider the unique challenges of handling the toxic gas to create the bunker supply chain.

PaxOcean Engineering, which operates shipyards in Singapore, China, and Indonesia, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Singapore-based bunker vessel operator Hong Lam Marine and classification society Bureau Veritas to jointly develop an ammonia bunker vessel design. 

Together, the three organizations look to contribute to the development and design of an ammonia bunker vessel that meets the challenges of the future fuel. They report that the project will seek to  foster innovation in smart and autonomous ship technologies, and support the use of green ammonia as a sustainable fuel to help decarbonize global shipping.

‘We are adding a new fuel segment into our R&D focus by co-creating ammonia-based vessel solutions,” said Tan Thai Yong, Chief Executive Officer of PaxOcean. “We look forward to the partnership with Hong Lam Marine and Bureau Veritas, founded upon our complementary strengths in a push to accelerate the development of ammonia bunkering in Singapore.”

With the signing of this MOU, PaxOcean reports that it will focus on developing the designs for ammonia-fueled and ammonia bunkering vessels, leveraging its technological capabilities and expertise. The company was launched with the acquisition of its first shipyard 15 years ago in 2007. With its initial assignments in the offshore sector with projects such as jack-up rigs and offshore support vessels, the shipyards have expanded and as a group they report having built over 750 vessels. This includes product tankers, FSRU, and a range of offshore construction and support vessels.

Hong Lam Marine’s role in the project is to provide input specific to operational data and to support and validate the suitability of the ship design for commercial operations. Incorporated in Singapore in 1981, the company today operates a fleet of 39 tankers with a total tonnage of about 315,000 dwt. Bunker fuel handling is a key part of the business with 27 tankers operating in-port at Singapore, Port Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia, and Australia for bunkering fuels, bulk lubricants supply, and the carriage of Jet A-1 to Changi Airport. 

Bureau Veritas will verify compliance for the project. BV will draw on its growing experience with the handling of ammonia, applying the emerging regulations and previous technical studies on ammonia as a fuel. 

“Ammonia has great potential as a zero-carbon marine fuel and can play a significant role to help shipping reach its decarbonization goals, but to fulfill this potential, more work is needed to overcome the safety and operational challenges. These challenges can be overcome through cross-industry collaboration,” predicts David Barrow, Vice President, South Asia Zone of Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said that it welcomes the project. As a major bunkering hub, they noted that the forward-looking collaboration aligns with its maritime decarbonization efforts to be ready for a multi-fuel bunkering transition to support the future of international shipping.