The world’s first purpose-built LNG bunkering vessel, Engie Zeebrugge, built for Engie, Fluxys, Mitsubishi Corporation, and NYK’s Gas4Sea partnership is set to arrive in Zeebrugge by April 2.
The vessel has recently been delivered to the partnership by the Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction at the Yeongdo shipyard in Busan, Korea.
For its maiden voyage, the LNG bunkering vessel will run on liquefied natural gas following the truck-to-ship bunkering operations at the shipyard, the Port of Zeebrugge said.
Zeebrugge is the home port of the vessel, from where the 5000 cubic meter ship will supply LNG as a marine fuel to ships operating in Northern Europe.
The two LNG-fueled pure car and truck carriers (PCTC) operated by United European Car Carriers will be its first customers. Engie Zeebrugge will load LNG at Fluxys’ LNG terminal in Zeebrugge, where small carriers with capacities from 2,000-cbm can dock at the recently commissioned second jetty.
As international regulations on emissions for ships tighten, LNG is expected to become an important alternative fuel for the maritime industry. Currently, the bunker market amounts to approximately 250 million tons of heavy fuel oil per year.
The growth of LNG in the bunker market is restricted by the supply infrastructure which has to be developed to support the increasing number of LNG-fueled ships that are expected to come into operation.
The partnership believes the LNG-bunkering vessel is a milestone in the development of the European LNG bunkering chain.
While LNG-fueled ships up to now have been largely dependent on fixed bunker locations or the limited bunkering capacity of LNG trailers, Engie Zeebrugge has been designed to service a variety of LNG-fueled ships, the port of Zeebrugge said.