TOTE Maritime Alaska, a daughter company of American marine transportation group TOTE, recently contracted MAN PrimeServ, a division of MAN Diesel & Turbo, to convert two roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) ships to dual-fuel operation on liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The two 65,314 gross ton vessels, North Star and Midnight Sun, are currently powered by 4 × MAN 58/64 engines and will be retrofitted to MAN 58/64 retrofit units.
The contract – signed in April 2017 and announced during the High Horsepower (HHP) Summit held in Jacksonville this week – covers the design, development and testing of a first-of-its-kind dual-fuel kit, which will serve as a foundation for the largest LNG conversion in North America, according to a joint statement.
As explained, 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 Maritime Alaska is … 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),” Michael Noone, President of TOTE Maritime Alaska, commented.
“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,” Peter Keller, Executive Vice President of TOTE, said, adding that the move comes ahead of the IMO sulphur cap in 2020.
Both the North Star and Midnight Sun operate routes between Anchorage, Alaska and Tacoma, Washington. The two Orca class ships were originally constructed by NASSCO, part of the General Dynamics Corporation, at its San Diego yard and commissioned in 2003.