Japan’s 1st LNG-Fueled Ferry ‘Sunflower Kurenai’ Launched

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) announced that on March 3, a naming and launching ceremonies for the first of Japan’s first two LNG-fueled ferries, which were ordered with Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., were held at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works Enoura Plant (Shimonoseki-shi, Yamaguchi Prefecture), and the newbuilding ferry was named “Sunflower Kurenai” by the mayor of Beppu City Yasuhiro Nagano.

The vessel is slated to enter service on the Osaka-Beppu route, operated by Ferry Sunflower Co., Ltd. (President: MItsujiro Akasaka; Head Office: Oita-shi, Oita Prefecture) as an alternative of the vessel currently in service in January 2023, after it is delivered from Mitsubishi Shipbuilding.

Compared to the vessels in service, the new ferry will offer greater transport capacity and convenience for both cargo and passenger transport. In freight transportation, it will significantly increase the number of trucks to be loaded and expand the driver’s room to provide a driver-friendly space.

Japan's 1st LNG-Fueled Ferry Sunflower Kurenai Launched
Image Credits: mol.co.jp

In addition, the floor area of the Grand Bathroom is doubled and the number of seats in the restaurant is enlarged 1.5 times, while spacious and open public space including a three-layer atrium are newly created (Note 2). the “Casual Cruise Concept” (Note 3) is further enhanced on the new vessel.

It will be Japan’s first ferry, adopting the environmental-friendly specifications as it is equipped with high-performance dual-fuel engine, which can run on both LNG and Heavy Fuel Oil. In addition, LNG is expected to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by about 25%, and sulfur oxide (SOx) by virtually 100%.

The MOL Group established the “MOL Group Environmental Vision 2.1” (Note 4) in June 2021, and set the target to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050. It is promoting the wider adoption of LNG fuel through development and advancement of an LNG fuel supply system in Japan and overseas. It also plans to launch about 90 LNG-fueled vessels by 2030 as an initiative to introduce clean alternative fuels (Fig.1). In the Ferry Business, following the Sunflower Kurenai and the second Sunflower Murasaki, two cutting-edge LNG-powered ferries are planned to be built to replace the ferries in service on the Oarai-Tomakomai route operated by MOL Ferry Co., Ltd. (President: Naotoshi Omoto; Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo) in 2025 (Note 5). The group will develop technology for LNG-fueled vessels and safe operation through development, construction, and operation of the new ferries, and take an active stance in fostering the use of LNG fuel. The MOL Group is united in working to meet the needs of customers and society at large for a cleaner environment and the realization of a low- and decarbonized society.

Comparison with ferries in service

(In service)
Passenger capacity 716 710
Truck loading capacity (Units) (converted to 13m) 137 92
Speed 22.5 knots 22.4 knots
LOA 199.9m 153.0m
Gross tonnage About 17,300 tons 9,245 tons

Reference: mol.co.jp

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