Appetite growing for dual fuel engine retrofits

American owner Tote has tapped MAN Diesel & Turbo to convert two ships deployed in Alaska – North Star and Midnight Sun – to dual-fuel operation using LNG.

The roros are currently both powered by four MAN 58/64 engines and will be retrofitted to MAN 58/64 retrofit units. Tote’s Alaskan subsidiary handles approximately one-third of goods transportation between the continental US and Alaska. Both the North Star and Midnight Sun operate routes between Anchorage, Alaska and Tacoma, Washington.

The two Orca class ships were originally constructed by NASSCO, part of the General Dynamics Corporation – the United States aerospace and Defence Company – at its San Diego yard and were commissioned in 2003.

Retrofitting engines so they can run on LNG is growing in popularity. MAN Diesel & Turbo has also just revealed Germany’s Wessels Reederei has signed a letter of intent to convert another three of its ships.

The three ships are sisters to the Wes Amelie, a 1,036-teu feeder containership with an MAN 8L48/60B main engine that was retrofitted to a multi-fuel, four-stroke MAN 51/60DF unit earlier in 2017.

Stefan Eefting, senior vice president at MAN Diesel & Turbo, said: “The Wes Amelie project was really a pioneering moment in the European container-feeder market and shows clearly that existing MAN engines can be converted to LNG operation with a tremendous effect on exhaust emissions and the environment. One of the key reasons the Wes Amelie was selected for conversion was its multiplier effect, that is, its many sister ships that would facilitate follow-up projects at reduced costs owing to the experiences gained from the first project. I believe the signing of this letter of intent validates our approach and points a realistic way towards decarbonisation and a climate-neutral shipping industry by 2050.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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