Mitsubishi Shipbuilding launches Japan’s first LNG-fueled ferry

   March 5, 2022 ,   Cruise Industry

The naming and launching ceremony for Japan’s first LNG-fueled cruiseferry - Sunflower Kurenai, took place at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' Shimonoseki Shipyard (Enoura Plant) on March 3, 2022.

The newbuild is the first of a couple of LNG-powered ferries ordered by MOL's subsidiary Ferry Sunflower Ltd.

The vessel is expected to enter service on the Osaka-Beppu route in January next year, operated by Ferry Sunflower as an alternative to the ship currently in service.

In comparison with the ships in service, the new ferry offers greater transport capacity and convenience for cargo and passenger transport. In freight transportation, it will increase the number of trucks loaded and expand the driver’s room, according to the shipowner MOL (Mitsui OSK Lines).

Sunflower Kurenai will be Japan’s first ferry to adopt environmental-friendly specifications as the vessel is equipped with dual-fuel engine, that can run on both LNG and heavy fuel oil. LNG is expected to reduce CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions by ~25%, and SOx (sulfur oxide) by virtually 100%.

In June 2021, the MOL Group established “MOL Group Environmental Vision 2.1” and set the target to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050. It's promoting the wider adoption of LNG via the development and advancement of an LNG fuel supply system in Japan and overseas. It also plans to launch ~90 LNG-fueled ships by 2030 as an initiative to introduce clean alternative fuels.

Following Sunflower Kurenai and Sunflower Murasaki, a couple of LNG-powered ferries are due to be built to replace the boats in service on the Oarai-Tomakomai route in 2025.