The introduction of tighter rules in the sulphur emission control areas this year was not the end of the world. But it may well be a close run thing, according DFDS chief executive Niels Smedegaard. Speaking at the European Shipping Week in Brussels, Smedegaard said January 1, 2015, represented a “pretty dramatic turn of events. We had to switch from 1% sulphur to 0.1%. But 0.1% marine gas oil is roughly 50% more expensive and that has put some challenges to the industry.”
Some shipowners have decided to go for scrubbers but by far the majority have elected to switch fuel to MGO. “Fortunately, by coincidence we have seen a fall in the fuel price since last September, which to a certain extent has alleviated the impact of the transition to the new product, but it has by no means fixed the challenge we have seen," Smedegaard said.
A positive for shortsea operators has been the Ten-T funds that have become available from the European Union for financial support when retrofitting scrubbers to vessels. Companies can potentially get up to 30% of the investment supported as part of an effort to facilitate the transition to new low-sulphur rules.
South Korean operator Seaspovill has taken delivery of its second Damen Fast Ferry, the ‘Sea Star 5’, at a ceremony held at Damen Shipyards Singapore recently. The catamaran passenger ferry is 42.2 metres in length with a beam of 11.6 metres. The vessel will transport up to 450 people on the 80 nautical mile route between Gangneung on the east coast of South Korea and the island of Ulleung-Do. Powered by her four MTU main engines, ‘Sea Star 5’ can reach over 40 knots.
The DFF 4212 is designed and built to comply with the international code of safety for High Speed Craft, 2000 HSC Code. Damen Shipyards manager Michiel Hendrikx said this order was important as it is the first new delivery of a ferry to South Korea since the tragic sinking of the Sewol ferry in the country last year.