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Fjord Line to retrofit DF LNG/MGO engines on LNG-fuelled vessels on ‘energy crisis’

29 Dec 2022

Norwegian ferry company Fjord Line on Tuesday (27 December) said it has decided to rebuild its two ships from LNG-only engines to dual-fuel LNG/ marine gas oil (MGO) during Spring 2023, due to increase in LNG bunker fuel costs which has led to a non-sustainable financial situation for the company. 

“The energy crisis, caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has led to extraordinary volatility and significant price increases in LNG – and the price increases have been far higher than for traditional and less sustainable energy sources at sea,” the company said.

The company notes it receives no governmental financial energy-aid. 

“This has led to a dramatically increase in the energy costs for Fjord Line’s two LNG-operated ships, and significantly above a financially sustainable level,” it said.

“The engine conversion enables the two LNG-ships to switch between LNG and MGO (Marine Gas Oil), which will ensure a financially sustainable operation until the LNG-price level is normalised,” said CEO, Brian Thorsted Hansen.

“Fjord Line is a pioneer within LNG-ship operation and our award-winning LNG-ships had the most innovative and sustainable fuel solution when launched in operation during 2013 and 2014. We are saddened by the need for the conversion towards use of MGO, despite Marine Gas Oil having a significantly reduced emissions of sulphur than traditional fuel such as HFO (Heavy Fuel Oil). The conversion is however critical to maintain our customer offering, secure workplaces, and to secure the continued development of Fjord Line.”

Rebuilding of MS Stavangerfjord will start in January 2023 and will be finalised by the end of May 2023. MS Bergensfjord will be rebuilt during February to mid June 2023. 

The routes affected by the rebuilding are Bergen – Stavanger – Hirtshals, and Hirtshals – Langesund. Fjord Line’s other routes Sandefjord – Strömstad, and Kristiansand – Hirtshals are not affected by the changes and will operate as normal.

The ships are being rebuilt at Fosen Yard and the engines will be delivered by Wärtsilä.

“Fjord Line has concluded a refinancing as part of the rebuilding of the two ships and due to the current energy crisis. A refinancing where our owners and lenders jointly have secured the continued development of Fjord Line’s strong position,” the firm said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic and the energy crisis the owners have contributed with new capital in the amount of 500 million NOK to Fjord Line.

“As a result of the engine conversion plan, Fjord Line will unfortunately not be able to maintain our customer offering on the routes Bergen – Stavanger – Hirtshals, and Hirtshals – Langesund during February 8th till May 25th, 2023. We sincerely apologies to our private- and business-/freight customers using Fjord Line on these critical ferry routes between Norway and the continent, and consequently being affected by the changes,” Hansen added.


Photo credit: Fjord Line
Published: 29 December, 2022

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