LNG-fuelled Ferry Commences Operations in Australia

| Australia, Devonport TAS

Searoad Mersey II LNGThe SeaRoad Mersey II, the first coastal ship in Australia to use clean, green LNG fuel-and-power technology and the first pure dry cargo ship in the world to use a roll-on roll-off LNG supply system, has completed its delivery journey by sailing from Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) shipyard in Germany to its berth at SeaRoad Holding’s East Devonport terminal in Tasmania last Sunday.

At the end of September, Bomin Linde LNG performed the initial fuelling of the SeaRoad Mersey II RoRo ferry at the FSG shipyard, thus beginning long-term cooperation with FSG for supplying LNG-powered vessels. The Hamburg-based company did the planning, preparation and implementation of the bunkering operation. This included obtaining the required permits from the port, technical consulting and coordination of the participating parties on site.

Searoad Mersey II LNG supplyThe ferry is equipped with four dual-fuel engines (two main engines, two gensets); however its fuel storage system is unique: instead of onboard LNG tanks, it utilizes LNG trailers that are connected to the drive system after being filled with liquefied natural gas. Bomin Linde LNG created bunker guidelines and safety procedures tailored to international regulations to cover this new arrangement.

Once in position the tanks are “plumbed in” via special manifolds to the ship’s fuel system, which is otherwise standard technology for any gas-burning installation. While the ship is at sea, the liquid is converted in a gas-handling room situated below deck and fed to the dual-fuel engines.

When in port, the tank trailers are removed via the vessel’s stern ramp, driven away to be refilled and returned. SeaRoad explains the vessel’s LNG capacity is more than adequate for Bass Strait crossings with a considerable safety margin, and there is always the fall-back of diesel if required.

The complete LNG system was supplied by Cryo AB (see endnote) of Sweden and features seven Type C portable fuel tanks manufactured at VRV of Milan, Italy.

Arriving in Devonport

Captain Lloyd Cahill, SeaRoad Mersey II, said it was by far the finest ship he had ever had the honour to command. “This is truly represents a new era for Australian shipping and especially for Tasmanian exporters and importers, and it leads the world with its pioneering LNG refuelling system,” Capt. Cahill said.

“It’s a technological marvel that was conceived and championed by Tasmanians, and its environmental credentials fit so well with the image the state is known for worldwide.”

SeaRoad says the use of LNG will mean a massive reduction in greenhouse gas pollution: CO2 will be cut by 30%, NOx by 95%, particulate matter also by 95%, and SOx is completely eliminated. The innovative design anticipates strict marine air pollution regulations that already apply in parts of Europe and North America and which are likely be enacted in Australia in the future. The vessel will use diesel as less than 1% of total fuel consumed during normal operations.

The $110 million (USD 81m) vessel commenced operations between Devonport and Melbourne mid-week. SeaRoad says full LNG-fueled operations will not commence until Q1 2017.

Interested parties will be able to inspect this one-of-a-kind vessel in Devonport on Sunday 18 December.

(Sources: SeaRoad Holdings, Bomin Linde)

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