German shipping company Wessels Reederei has signed a letter of intent with compatriot engine manufacturer MAN Diesel & Turbo to convert three of its ships to dual-fuel gas operation.
The document was inked at the Europort 2017 exhibition of maritime technology in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
The three ships are sisters to the Wes Amelie, a 1,036 TEU feeder containership with a MAN 8L48/60B main engine that was retrofitted to a multi-fuel, four-stroke MAN 51/60DF unit earlier in 2017.
The retrofit enables dual-fuel operation and is the first such conversion of its type the world has ever seen.
“The Wes Amelie project was really a pioneering moment in the European container-feeder market and shows clearly that existing MAN engines can be converted to LNG operation with a tremendous effect on exhaust emissions and the environment,” Stefan Eefting, Senior Vice President, MAN Diesel & Turbo and Head of MAN PrimeServ Diesel in Augsburg, said.
“One of the key reasons the Wes Amelie was selected for conversion was its ‘multiplier effect’, that is, its many sister ships that would facilitate follow-up projects at reduced costs owing to the experiences gained from the first project. I believe the signing of this letter of intent validates our approach and points a realistic way towards decarbonisation and a climate-neutral shipping industry by 2050,” Eefting added.
Wes Amelie has 23 sister ships, 16 of them structurally identical, which would allow follow-up projects to be implemented, according to MAN.