AGA Gas AB, a member of the Linde Group, and Viking Line Abp have signed an agreement on delivery of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Viking Line’s new cruise ship, the 57,000 grt, 214 m (702 ft) M/S Viking Grace. “AGA’s and Viking Line’s investment means major environmental gains in comparison to traditional maritime fuel”, says Jan Bäckvall, Head of Europe North in Linde and responsible for AGA”. “For Baltic shipping, this can be the primary solution in the future”.
Viking Line’s new vessel with the project name “NB 1376” will operate on the stretch Stockholm-Åbo from January 2013. Powered by four Wartsila 8L50 DF (dual-fuel) engines, the vessel is being manufactured at the STX boatyard in Åbo and has a capacity of 2,800 passengers, as well as large space for vehicles. LNG fuel will be stored in purpose-built tanks.
LNG contains no sulphur or heavy metals and reduces carbon emissions by 20-30% compared to oil. LNG meets IMO’s (International Maritime Organization) directives that sulfur content in marine fuel must not exceed 0.1 percent by weight from 2015 onwards. In addition, it complies with future requirements to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions.
The vessel’s consumption of LNG is estimated at 22,500 tonnes annually, or about 60 tonnes per day. AGA will supply the liquefied natural gas from AGA’s LNG terminal in Nynäshamn, which opened in 2011.
Planning, projecting and permission for bunkering (refueling) of the vessel at Stadsgården in Stockholm is in progress.
“The cooperation between AGA and Viking Line means that the guidelines for the management of a new fuel will be developed. This paves the way for a new infrastructure for Swedish shipping where LNG is of great future importance,” says Michael Backman, CEO of Viking Line Abp.
“Viking Line’s environmentally conscious investment is an important “flagship” for shipping and a cleaner Baltic Sea area. The proximity to the LNG terminal, which provides flexible and reliable deliveries and AGA’s knowledge of cryogenic environmentally friendly fuel and bunkering technology, make AGA a natural partner in this pioneering project,” says Jan Bäckvall, AGA.
Looking to the future, AGA believes the biggest market for its LNG fuel supplied from Nynäshamn will most likely be marine transport. Trond Jerve, LNG Manager at AGA, explains: in Norway car ferries are required to run on natural gas. By 2013, more than 40 ships will be powered by LNG, and the majority of these will be equipped with cryogenic equipment from Cryo AB. At international level, industry experts also agree that natural gas is the fuel of the future for marine fleets across the globe as environmental shipping regulations set down by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) become increasingly stringent. Thresholds for sulphur levels in fuel have been subject to particularly strict regulation, with limits for shipping in the North Sea and Baltic Sea set to drop from the current 1.5 percent to 0.1 percent by 2015. Ships docking in European ports today must already comply with a 0.1 percent limit. “Natural gas is an attractive option in the move towards these goals,” confirms Jerve.
(This article primarily compiled using information from AGA Gas AB press releases)