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Keel laying completed for LNG conversion of 34-year old passenger ferry ‘Münsterland’

22 May 2020

Dutch Shipyard Royal Niestern Sander on Monday (18 May) said it has officially started section building operations for the liquified natural gas (LNG) conversion of the passenger ferry Münsterland together with German-Netherlands ferry services provider AG-Ems.

In July 2019, shipyard Royal Niestern Sander and AG Ems signed an agreement for the conversion of the passenger ship Münsterland and provide it with an LNG propulsion. 

The ship received a contribution from the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union for the innovative project.

Royal Niestern Sander added it will design and build a completely new aft for the passenger ship from 1986, including dual fuel engines, LNG storage tanks, propulsion systems, all LNG installations, pipelines and other systems.

This completely new stern will replace the existing stern of the Münsterland.

Due to its expertise and facilities, the yard reports it has a unique conversion method in mind that offers the possibility of reducing the idle time of an existing ship – and therefore the loss of income – to a minimum.

The shipyard’s project approach is based on two main expertise of the company – shipbuilding and ship repair.

With the combination of shipbuilding and ship repair, the majority of the conversion operation will take place physically at the ship’s construction site, whereby a repair dock is not yet needed.

The Münsterland can then continue to operate as usual during this work.

With LNG conversion, emissions of the vessel will be reduced significantly and the new shape of the stern will also reduce the hull resistance.

As a result, the ship needs less engine power to sail at the same speed, which means a reduction in fuel consumption and noise.

In addition to emission benefits, the LNG conversion also offers advantages in terms of material use. The existing ship dates from 1986 and is therefore more than thirty years old, said the shipyard.

In theory, the ship has already reached the end of its life cycle. With the conversion works, many technical systems will be replaced and upgraded to current technologies.

The ship will actually be as new again and will get a second life. This doubles the lifespan of most of the ferries in service and saves a lot of material. 

The old stern with old systems and installations is being dismantled by Niestern Sander in a sustainable manner and will be recycled as much as possible.

With the m.v. Münsterland, Royal Niestern Sander notes it has the opportunity to demonstrate the economic feasibility of an LNG conversion in practice thanks to its unique conversion method. 

It will also show that space limitations when converting an existing ship can be solved. 

AG Ems will put the Münsterland back into service between the Dutch Eemshaven to the German Wadden Sea island Borkum in its new form in the ready to the start of summer-schedule at Easter 2021.

Photo credit: Royal Niestern Sander
Published: 21 May, 2020


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