MOL Group to Build Japan’s First LNG-fueled Ferries

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and its group company Ferry Sunflower Limited will construct the first two LNG-fuelled ferries in Japan, the Sunflower Kurenai and the Sunflower Murasaki. The vessels are to be ordered from Mitsubishi Shipbuilding in December.

Ferry Sunflower will charter the ferries after delivery and launch them on its Osaka-Beppu route from the end of 2022 through the first half of 2023, as replacements for vessels currently in service (the Sunflower Ivory, delivered in 1997, 9245 gross tonnage (GT) and Sunflower Cobalt, delivered in 1998, 9245 GT).

Impression of the new LNG-ferries.

Dual-fuel Engines
The ferries will be equipped with high-performance dual-fuel engines. The use of LNG fuel will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by twenty per cent compared to current vessels, and virtually eliminates sulfur oxides emissions. The ferries will also be quieter than the current vessels.

Comparison between new and current vessels.

The new vessels’ names are derived from the Kurenai Maru and Murasaki Maru, which MOL’s corporate forerunner Osaka Shosen Kaisha launched on the Osaka-Beppu route in the 1910s. These vessels, and others that carried the same names, were called Queen of the Sea and the Queen of the Seto Inland Sea.

Picture (top): Sunflower Ivory (by Si-take).

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.