The first LNG bunker vessel to be based in France has marked another step towards her delivery and operational commencement, following the successful completion of her sea and gas trials. The new vessel is TotalEnergies Marine Fuels’ second collaboration with shipowner Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) and shipbuilder Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding. TotalEnergies Marine Fuels and MOL signed a long-term charter contract in November 2019 and construction commenced in April 2020.
The 18,600-m³ capacity vessel was first launched from the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding in China at the end of April 2021. In June, sea trials were conducted off Shanghai where the new vessel’s navigation and propulsion systems were successfully tested, including speed and maneuverability assessments at open sea. Gas trials were completed in early July, under the attendance of the ship management team.
Due to go into operational service in the final quarter of 2021, the vessel will be operated by V-Ships France, under the French flag and will be based in the Port of Marseille-Fos, Southern France, to serve the Mediterranean region. Her first contracts will be to perform LNG bunkering services to CMA CGM’s LNG-fueled containerships and MSC Cruises’ upcoming LNG-powered cruise ships that call at the French port.
Leveraging the design-and-build experience for TotalEnergies Marine Fuels’ first chartered LNG bunker vessel Gas Agility, the new vessel will incorporate enhanced equipment boosting its bunkering efficiency and flexibility to supply LNG to a wide range of vessels across various segments and sizes. These features include an additional bow thruster, upgraded cargo pumps and high duty compressors, as well as a pressure reduction system to optimize bunkering operations of ‘Type C’ tank vessels under all conditions.
“We are excited to be at the forefront of making LNG bunkering capabilities readily available in France and the Mediterranean region,” said Jérôme Leprince-Ringuet, Vice-President Marine Fuels at TotalEnergies. “With shipping’s accelerating transition to this cleaner marine fuel, we look forward to providing our customers with another major European hub for their LNG bunkering needs.”
Kenta Matsuzaka, Senior Managing Executive Officer of MOL, commented: “It is my great pleasure to witness this important milestone of the project. MOL will support TotalEnergies in a long term throughout the LNG supply chain, contributing to stable energy supply and decarbonization of the shipping industry. We are proud of being part of the ongoing energy transition of the shipping industry by enabling our customer to supply cleaner marine fuel.”
By end 2021, TotalEnergies Marine Fuels will charter two LNG bunkering vessels in Rotterdam and Marseille, and share the use of a third bunker vessel in Singapore.