Fjord Line has revised parts of the timetable for its new, environmentally friendly cruise ferry MS Stavangerfjord starting Thursday evening for the following five weeks to allow more time for refuelling with liquid natural gas while in port.
The brand-new ship went into service on July 14 as the first international ferry powered solely by LNG and Fjord Line is still working on new systems for filling fuel, which has caused delays.
“We need more time in port to work out our routines for refuelling with Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) without causing delays,” said Fjord Line CEO Ingvald Fardal. He said the refuelling problems concern the speed at which they can fill the highly compressed fuel into ship’s tanks as well as limitations placed on the fuelling process by Norwegian regulations. Fardal stressed that problem in no way compromises safety.
For the next five weeks, the ship will fill LNG three times a week in Hirtshals, Denmark and once a week at Risavika near Stavanger, Fardal said. During this interim period, the time the ship spends docked in Hirtshals and Risavika will be extended and will result in adjustments to the timetable.
Affected passengers will be contacted
“We must ask for your understanding about the need to make adjustments in our fuel stops in this start-up phase. Norwegian rules prohibit filling LNG with passengers on board causes problems in general for a ship that is in continuous, around-the-clock operation. We hope these rules will soon be revised so we don’t have to send 10 tanker trucks of LNG by road from Stavanger to Hirtshals every week”, the company said in a release.
Fjord Line took delivery of MS Stavangerfjord from the Bergen Group Fosen shipyard on July 8, after repeated delays. As a result, the crew only had one week to sort out operating routines before entering service at the peak of the summer vacation season.
“We hope these temporary adjustments will allow the time we need to establish fuelling procedures. That is a top priority,” said Fardal. He said Fjord Line will get in touch with all passengers affected by the schedule changes.
“In spite of difficulties in the start-up phase, Fardal is satisfied with the new cruise ferry. The crew thrives on board and the feedback from travellers has generally been positive”, he said.
Fjordline, July 25, 2013