The ship’s fuel system and its existing heavy fuel-burning engine will be converted into a dual fuel engine during the project, which will be carried out at the Shanghai-based shipyard Shipbuilding (Group) Co. Ltd. The plan will be to operate the vessel using LNG, but to also use low-sulphur fuel oil (LSFO) as a backup.
The contract for the retrofitting, which is estimated to take about 90 days, was signed at the end of last week with Hudon HONDHOA Shipbuilding (Group) Co. Ltd., according to a press release from Hapag-Lloyd. Retrofitting a large LNG-ready vessel for LNG is projected to cost $25 million to $30 million, according to a presentation on Hapag-Lloyd’s website.
“By converting the Sajir, we will be the first shipping company in the world to retrofit a containership of this size to LNG propulsion,” said Richard von Berlepsch, managing director fleet management at Hapag-Lloyd. “By carrying out this unprecedented pilot, we hope to learn for the future and to pave the way for large ships to be retrofitted to use this alternative fuel.”
Using LNG fuel in the shipping industry potentially could reduce CO2 emissions by 15 percent to 30 percent and sulphur dioxide and particulate matter by more than 90 percent, according to the press release.
The Sajir, built in 2014, is one of 17 vessels in Hapag-Lloyd’s fleet that were originally designed to be LNG-ready. Its 16 sister ships are also technically prepared for retrofitting, but the Sajir is the only one currently planned to retrofit, Johanna Stroex, the company’s manager of corporate communications, wrote in an email.
The retrofitting is one of several trials the German-based company is running in 2019 to determine the best mix of solutions to comply with the International Maritime Organization’s 2020 mandate, which limits sulphur emissions caused by marine fuels to 0.5 percent as of Jan. 1, 2020. The current cap is 3.5 percent.
Hapag-Lloyd also plans to install exhaust gas cleaning systems, which are often referred to as scrubbers, on two ships in 2019 at an estimated $7 million to $10 million per ship.