ENGIE, Fluxys, Mitsubishi Corporation and NYK have taken delivery of the world’s first purpose built LNG bunkering ship from Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction in Busan, Korea.
She will run on LNG for her maiden voyage, after a few days of loading LNG delivered by trucks at the shipyard.
Zeebrugge in Belgium will be the home port of the vessel, which has been named ENGIE Zeebrugge accordingly. From there, the 5,000m3 LNG capacity vessel will supply LNG as a marine fuel to ships operating in Northern Europe.
The two LNG fuelled pure car and truck carriers operated by United European Car Carriers will be the first customers. ENGIE Zeebrugge will load LNG at Fluxys’ LNG terminal in Zeebrugge, where small carriers with capacities from 2,000m3 can dock at a recently commissioned jetty.
As international regulations on emissions for ships tighten, LNG is expected to become an important alternative fuel for the maritime industry. Currently, the bunker market amounts to approximately 250 million tons of heavy fuel oil per year. The challenge in making LNG grow in the bunker market is to develop sufficient supply infrastructure to support the increasing number of LNG fuelled ships that are expected to come into operation.
ENGIE says that ENGIE Zeebrugge marks a milestone in the development of the European LNG bunkering chain. While LNG fuelled ships up to now have been largely dependent on fixed bunker locations or the limited bunkering capacity of LNG trailers, ENGIE Zeebrugge has been designed to service a variety of LNG fuelled ships.