Japan’s first LNG-fueled ferry Sunflower Kurenai is already in operation

   January 17, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

MOL-Mitsui OSK Lines' first dual-fuel ferry in Japan is already in operation.

It is Sunflower Kurenai, presented to the world at the beginning of 2022. That is when its naming ceremony took place, at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ plant (Yamaguchi Prefecture). The new cruiseferry was meant to replace the conventional ferries that were circulating on specific routes, at the time.

Sunflower Kurenai replaced Sunflower Ivory, carrying people/goods on the Osaka-Beppu route. This is a major route that connects the Sunflower Ferry Terminal (Osaka Prefecture) and the Beppu International Tourist Port (Oita Prefecture).

The new ferry is considerably larger than its predecessor (652 ft/199 m, compared to 502 ft/153 m). This enabled the addition of a Grand Bathroom with a double floor area, a larger number of seats in the restaurant, and a generous public area on board (including a new 3-layer Atrium).

The new ferry is more spacious, boasting a 17300 GT-tons volume versus 9245 GT. This translates to an increased cargo capacity. The ferry also provides increased room and comfort for truck drivers onboard.

What makes Sunflower Kurenai a pioneer in its country is the use of liquefied natural gas. The ship was fitted with a dual-fuel engine that runs on both LNG and standard marine oil.

Although this does not make the ferry 100% green, it has a positive impact on emission reduction. According to the builder, it is expected to operate with 25% fewer CO2 emissions and eliminate sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions.

Sunflower Kurenai’s LNG fueling was also a first for Japan, because of the specific procedure.

The new LNG-fueled ferry is soon to be joined by sistership Sunflower Murasaki and 2 more LNG-fueled vessels will also be constructed. MOL’s Ferry Sunflower is due to operate 4 eco-friendly ferries running on LNG, by 2025.

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