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MPA: Multi-agency exercise to test Singapore’s ferry mishap readiness and response

Highlights included the demonstration of the rescue capabilities of MPA’s newest hybrid diesel-electric patrol craft “MPA Guardian” for specialised rescue ops.





The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Monday (29 August) said it held its annual ferry rescue exercise (FEREX) to test Singapore’s operational readiness in the event of a ferry mishap.

The FEREX was held in conjunction with the annual International Safety at Sea conference held from 30 August to 2 September 2022. 

One of the main highlights of the exercise included the demonstration of the rescue capabilities of MPA’s newest hybrid diesel-electric patrol craft, MPA Guardian

Nine vessels, a helicopter and more than 200 personnel from various agencies and private sector partners were deployed for the seaward exercise off the western coast of Sentosa and landward exercise at HarbourFront Passenger Ferry Terminal (HFPT). These included the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), Ministry of Health (MOH), Singapore Police Force (SPF), the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), Singapore Cruise Centre Pte Ltd, and ferry operator Batam Fast Ferry Pte Ltd.

The exercise was observed by Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Transport, Singapore, together with key personnel from the various government agencies and private sector Partners.


Exercise scenario

The exercise scenario was based on a collision between a ferry by Batam Fast Ferry and a harbour craft which resulted in a main engine failure and ingress of water onboard the ferry due to hull damage. This led to a precarious situation that necessitated an immediate evacuation of the passengers on board the “stricken” ferry. The captain of the ferry sent out a distress call requesting for immediate help from MPA and initiated onboard evacuation procedures.

Seaward rescue operations

MPA’s Ferry Mishap Contingency Plan was activated to test the agencies’ operational readiness to the incident and various seaward resources were deployed to secure the area of operations and evacuate the passengers. These included three MPA patrol crafts, a Police Coast Guard 5th Generation PT class patrol craft, an RSAF H225M Medium Lift helicopter, an RSN Independence-class Littoral Mission Vessel, and a SCDF Heavy Rescue Vessel.


MPA Guardian provides an edge in rescue operations

Developed in collaboration with the Defence Science and Technology Agency and Penguin Shipyard International, MPA Guardian is a hybrid diesel-electric patrol craft that is equipped with a comprehensive suite of capabilities which allows specialised rescue operations.

To demonstrate the rescue capabilities of MPA’s newest patrol craft, rescued passengers were transferred onto MPA Guardian to receive simulated medical attention in the vessel’s First Aid Room.

MPA Guardian is equipped with a command operations room to manage rescue operations, a Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat that can be deployed within 10 minutes to conduct shallow water rescue missions, and a 10-metre wide deck that is able to facilitate drone and heli evacuation operations.


To demonstrate MPA Guardian’s heli evacuation capabilities and crew readiness, RSAF deployed their H225M helicopter to heli winch a “critically injured” dummy passenger from the vessel.

Harnessing drone technology

This year’s exercise also saw the deployment of unmanned aerial drones from MPA’s patrol crafts for aerial surveillance and remote monitoring with “live” feed to MPA Guardian’s command operations room to enhance situational awareness and incident management response.

Landward rescue operations

The readiness of the landward rescue operation was also tested in this year’s exercise. Medical personnel and triage facilities by SCDF and MOH were deployed at HPFT to manage and treat injured passengers prior to hospital conveyance. SPF and ICA officers were also deployed to provide security coverage and immigration clearance as part of the rescue efforts.

“With the resumption of regional ferry services that have been disrupted by COVID-19, it is important for us to resume both the seaward and landward rescue components of the exercise to test and enhance the operational readiness and contingency preparedness of government agencies and private sector partners in dealing with such mishaps,” said Capt Daknash Ganasen, Senior Director of Operations and Marine Services, MPA. 

“It also gives us the opportunity to deploy new rescue capabilities and technologies, while raising public awareness on how passengers are safeguarded and cared for during a ferry rescue operation.”


Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 30 August, 2022

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Kambara Kisen orders methanol dual-fuel bulker from Tsuneishi Shipbuilding

Firm ordered a 65,700-dwt methanol dual-fuel dry bulk carrier with Tsuneishi Shipbuilding; MOL signed a basic agreement on time charter for the newbuilding that is slated to be delivered in 2027.





Kambara Kisen orders methanol dual-fuel bulker from Tsuneishi Shipbuilding

Japanese shipowner Kambara Kisen has ordered a 65,700-dwt methanol dual-fuel dry bulk carrier newbuilding from Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd, according to Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) on Wednesday (20 September).

MOL said it signed a basic agreement on time charter for the newbuilding that is slated to be delivered in 2027. 

The vessel will be designed to use e-methanol produced primarily by synthesising recovered CO2 and hydrogen produced using renewable energy sources, and bio-methanol derived from biogas. 

The vessel's design maximises cargo space while ensuring sufficient methanol tank capacity set to allow the required navigational distance assuming various routes, at the same time maximising cargo space. 

MOL added the vessel is expected to serve mainly in the transport of biomass fuels from the east coast of North America to Europe and the U.K. and within the Pacific region, as well as grain from the east coast of South America and the U.S. Gulf Coast to Europe and the Far East.

Details on the time-charter contract:

Shipowner: Kambara Kisen wholly owned subsidiary
Charterer: MOL Drybulk Ltd.
Charter period 2027: -

Details on the newbuilding methanol dual fuel bulk carrier:

LOA: About 200 m
Breadth: About 32.25 m
Draft: About 13.80 m
Deadweight: About 65,700 MT
Hold capacity: About 81,500m3
Shipyard: Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.

Photo credit: Mitsui O.S.K. Lines
Published: 22 September, 2023

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Argus Media: Alternatives may drive methanol market growth

Driven by low-carbon policies and regulations, the transportation sector — especially the marine fuels industry — could be a source of heightened demand, according to Argus.





RESIZED Argus media

The growth of sustainable alternatives to traditional methanol production sources likely will shape the market over the next several years, industry leaders said this week at the Argus Methanol Forum.

20 September 

Driven by low-carbon policies and regulations, the transportation sector — especially the marine fuels industry — could be a source of heightened demand.

"The aim is to be net zero by 2050 but [those solutions are] expensive today and one of the main challenges to build e-methanol or bio-methanol plants is a huge queue for these pieces of equipment that aren't available," Anita Gajadhar, executive director for Swiss-based methanol producer Proman, said.

Bio-based and e-methanol plants of commercial scale, like Proman's natural gas-fed 1.9 million metric tonne/yr M5000 plant in Trinidad and Tobago, are not ready today.

"But that's not to say 10 years from now they won't be there," Gajadhar added.

Smaller projects are popping up. Dutch fuels and gas supplier OCI Global announced plans last week to double the green methanol capacity at its Beaumont, Texas, facility to 400,000 t/yr and will add e-methanol to production for the first time. Production will use feedstocks such as renewable natural gas (RNG), green hydrogen and biogas.

The globally oversupplied methanol market will not get any major supply additions starting in 2024 until 2027. But that oversupply will not last long, Gajadhar said.

Global demand has slowed this year, driven by stagnate economic growth and higher interest rates, according to industry observers.

As much as half of methanol demand is tied to GDP growth, with total methanol demand estimates at 88.9mn t globally in 2023. This is essentially flat from 2022, but up from 88.3m t in 2021 and 87.7mn t in 2020, Dave McCaskill, vice-president of methanol and derivatives for Argus Media's consulting service, said.

Demand is not expected to rebound to 2019 levels of 89.6mn t until 2024 or 2025, he added.

The period of oversupply combined with lackluster demand places methanol in a transition period, Gajadhar said, which opens the door for sustainable feedstock alternatives to shape market growth.

Danish container shipping giant Maersk and French marine logistics company CMA-CGM announced earlier this week a partnership to drive decarbonization in shipping. The partnership seeks to develop fuel and operations standards for bunkering with alternative fuels. The companies will develop net-zero solutions, including new technology and alternative fuels.

Maersk has previously ordered dual-fuel methanol-powered vessels and CMA-CGM LNG-propelled vessels.

The demand for alternative feedstock-derived fuels is there, but the ability to scale-up such production lags. Certified lower-carbon methanol produced using carbon capture and sequestration — also known as blue methanol— can ramp up much more quickly, according to Gajadhar.

By Steven McGinn

Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 22 September, 2023

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Royal Caribbean completes over 12 weeks of bio bunker fuel testing in Europe

Firm expanded its biofuel testing this summer in Europe to two additional ships — Royal Caribbean International’s “Symphony of the Seas” and Celebrity Cruises’ “Celebrity Apex”.





Royal Caribbean completes over 12 weeks of bio bunker fuel testing in Europe

Royal Caribbean Group on Tuesday (19 September) said it successfully completed over 12 consecutive weeks of biofuel testing in Europe. 

Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas became the first ship in the maritime industry to successfully test and use a biofuel blend in Barcelona to meet part of her fuel needs. 

The company confirmed onboard technical systems met operational standards, without quality or safety concerns, demonstrating the biofuel blend is a reliable “drop in” supply of lower emission energy that ships can use to set sail across Europe and beyond. 

The tests across Europe also provided valuable data to understand the availability and scalability of biofuel in the region, the firm added. 

Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group, said: “This is a pivotal moment for Royal Caribbean Group’s alternative fuel journey.”

“Following our successful trial of biofuels this summer, we are one step closer to bringing our vision for net-zero cruising to life. As we strive to protect and promote the vibrant oceans we sail, we are determined to accelerate innovation and improve how we deliver vacation experiences responsibly.”

President of the Port of Barcelona, Lluís Salvadó, said: “Royal Caribbean’s success is a clear example of how commitment to innovation makes possible the development of solutions to decarbonise the maritime sector.”

“In this case, it involves the cruise sector and focuses on biofuels, an area in which the Port of Barcelona is already working to become an energy hub, producing and supplying zero carbon fuels, such as green hydrogen and ammonia, and of other almost zero-carbon alternative fuels, such as methanol, biofuels or synthetic fuels. Innovation and collaboration between ports and shipping companies is key to accelerate the decarbonisation of maritime transport.”

The company began testing biofuels last year and expanded the trail this summer in Europe to two additional ships — Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Apex

The sustainable biofuel blends tested were produced by purifying renewable raw materials like waste oils and fats and combining them with fuel oil to create an alternative fuel that is cleaner and more sustainable. The biofuel blends tested are accredited by International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), a globally recognized organization that ensures sustainability of biofuels and verifies reductions of related emissions.

With Symphony of the Seas departing from the Port of Barcelona and Celebrity Apex departing from the Port of Rotterdam, both ships accomplished multiple sailings using biofuel and contributed critical data on the fuel’s capabilities. 

“These results will help accelerate Royal Caribbean Group’s plans to continue testing the use of different types of biofuels on upcoming European sailings this fall. The company is exploring strategic partnerships with suppliers and ports to ensure the availability of biofuel and infrastructures to advance the maritime energy transition,” the firm said. 

Photo credit: Royal Caribbean Group 
Published: 22 September, 2023

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