TOTE Maritime Alaska, a daughter company of American marine-transportation group TOTE Inc., has set the wheels in motion to convert two of its ro-ro cargo ships to Liquefied Natural Gas operations. First mooted in 2015 but deferred, the vessels are currently both powered by 4 × MAN 58/64 engines and will be retrofitted to MAN 58/64 retrofit units.
TOTE contracted MAN PrimeServ – MAN Diesel & Turbo’s after-sales division – to convert the 22,437 dwt ‘North Star’ and ‘Midnight Sun’ to dual-fuel operation on liquefied natural gas (LNG). The contract – signed in April 2017 and announced during the High Horsepower (HHP) Summit, a conference and expo on the use of natural gas – covers the design, development and testing of a first-of-its-kind dual-fuel kit, which will serve as foundation for the largest LNG conversion in North America.
A key influence in TOTE’s decision to retrofit the vessels to LNG is to significantly reduce the most harmful emissions that result from burning diesel. TOTE earlier determined that for vessels spending a third or more of their time in the Emission Control Areas (ECA), LNG is a viable alternative.
“TOTE Maritime Alaska is excited to convert its fleet to LNG power which will result in a significant reduction in air emissions including particulate matter, sulphur oxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxide (NOx). This significant investment of time and money is a reflection of our commitment to the environment, our customers and the state of Alaska”, noted Michael Noone, President of TOTE Maritime Alaska.
Dr. Thomas Spindler, Head of Upgrades & Retrofits at MAN PrimeServ Augsburg, explained: “To meet TOTE’s requirements, we have developed a solution based on our well-proven 51/60DF retrofit. Accordingly, the engineering approach to the 58/64 retrofit is very familiar to us, and this project represents a straightforward conversion procedure.”
Spindler added: “The investment will be of huge benefit to the customer on several fronts: not only will the retrofitted engines meet all new emission standards; the new components they receive during conversion will significantly extend their working life.”
“We have been investigating and testing many options for shifting the fleet to LNG. The conversion of the existing engines is the most reliable and beneficial solution”, said Peter Keller, Executive Vice President of TOTE. “This innovative solution that has been developed in partnership with MAN will be an important milestone for the industry as we all prepare for the IMO sulphur cap in 2020.”
TOTE Maritime Alaska handles approximately one-third of goods transportation between the continental US and Alaska. Both the North Star and Midnight Sun operate fast routes between Anchorage, Alaska and Tacoma, Washington, a distance of about 1,450 nautical miles.
The two Orca class ships were originally constructed by NASSCO, part of the General Dynamics Corporation – the United States aerospace and Defence Company – at its San Diego yard and were commissioned in 2003.
TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, another TOTE company, is notable for ordering the world’s first LNG-powered Marlin class container ships, the ‘Isla Bella’ and ‘Perla del Caribe’, launched in 2015 and both featuring single MAN B&W 8L70ME-GI engines.
Pictured at MAN Diesel & Turbo’s Headquarter in Augsburg (from left): Stefan Eefting – Senior Vice President and Head of MAN PrimeServ Augsburg; Peter Keller – Executive Vice President of TOTE; Per Rud – Senior Vice President and Head of After Sales – Marine & Power Plants
Source: TOTE Maritime