A Qatar-backed study project that is being steered from Greece has become the first cross-border LNG bunkering project in southern Europe to receive a green light from Brussels. Poseidon-Med aims to design “a comprehensive value chain for the use of LNG as marine fuel in the East Mediterranean and Adriatic Sea”. It has qualified for €5.1m ($6.6m), or 50%, funding from the European Union’s Trans-European Network for Transport (TEN-T) programme and the study is scheduled to be completed in December 2015. Work on the project began at the end of last year, before the application for funding was made.
By February next year, the project team hopes to have drawn up feasibility studies and a timetable for retrofitting six vessels for LNG as a fuel. The vessels will be of different types — a car-passenger fast catamaran, a ro-ro ferry, a medium-sized conventional ro-pax ferry, a large ro-pax cruise ferry, a car carrier and a handysize cargoship. In Greece there is already political backing for converting much of the domestic ferry fleet to run on LNG.
Turkey’s Sedef Shipyard will build two 150m long by 26m beam ro-ro vessels for Seaspan Ferries Corporation, part of Canada’s Seaspan group. The single open deck vessels will replace Seaspan’s ageing fleet of ro-ros and tug-barge units which serve routes between Vancouver and Vancouver Island on Canada’s west coast.
Their main route connects Tilbury, on the south side of Vancouver, with Nanaimo on Vancouver Island with four daily sailings and also from Tilbury to Swartz Bay with three daily departures. Another route, from Surrey to Duke Point has a twice-daily frequency. The three existing ro-ro vessels, Princess Superior, Carrier Princess and Seaspan Greg have a 26 - 38 trailer capacity.
The propulsion system on the new ro-ro ships will be unique, relying on Wärtsilä supplied dual fuel gensets. They will also supply the LNG PAC tank and fuel system. The vessels will have a capacity for 60 53ft trailers. Delivery is expected by the end of 2016.