TOTE Maritime Alaska, a unit of TOTE contracted MAN PrimeServ, the MAN Diesel & Turbo’s after-sales division, to convert the North Star and Midnight Sun to dual-fuel operation on liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The roll on/off ships are currently both powered by 4 × MAN 58/64 engines and will be retrofitted to MAN 58/64 retrofit units, MAN Diesel & Turbo said in its statement.
The contract, signed in April 2017 covers the design, development and testing of a first-of-its-kind dual-fuel kit, which will serve as a foundation for the largest LNG conversion in North America.
A key influence in TOTE’s decision to retrofit the vessels to LNG is to significantly reduce the most harmful emissions that result from burning diesel.
“We have been investigating and testing many options for shifting the fleet to LNG. The conversion of the existing engines is the most reliable and beneficial solution,” said Peter Keller, executive vice president of TOTE.
Both the North Star and Midnight Sun operate fast routes between Anchorage, Alaska and Tacoma, Washington.
The two companies have already cooperated on LNG fueled vessels as TOTE’s Puerto Rico unit operates the world’s first LNG-fueled Marlin class container ships, the Isla Bella and Perla del Caribe, launched in 2015 and both featuring single MAN B&W 8L70ME-GI engines.