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Alternative Fuels

UECC takes delivery of third LNG battery hybrid PCTC “Auto Aspire” from Chinese yard

Vessel was delivered on 20 October at China’s Jiangnan Shipyard and will soon join sister vessels “Auto Advance” and “Auto Achieve” plying trade routes in Northern Europe.

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European shortsea RoRo shipper UECC on Thursday (20 October) said it has taken delivery of its third and final newbuild multi-fuel LNG battery hybrid pure car and truck carrier (PCTC). 

The company said it is taking the lead in meeting new requirements for low-emission ship operations with the green transformation of its fleet.

The latest newbuild, to be named Auto Aspire, was delivered on 20 October at China’s Jiangnan Shipyard and will soon join sister vessels Auto Advance and Auto Achieve plying trade routes in Northern Europe after delivery of the pair from the fabrication yard over the past year.

“This significant delivery marks the realization of our ambition conceived a decade ago to bring to the European short sea market a new breed of advanced low-carbon vessels able to deliver on demands for energy efficiency under a green shipping regime,” said UECC’s CEO Glenn Edvardsen.

“This has been achieved through a process of innovation whereby a new technological solution has been developed together with Jiangnan’s in-house ship design team to give substantial gains in terms of emissions reductions.

“But, as the name of the third newbuild suggests, we still aspire to do even more.”

In tune with green regulations

With delivery of the latest vessel, UECC now has five eco-friendly PCTCs out of its current fleet of nine owned vessels plus seven chartered units, with 80% of its current lifting capacity already meeting the IMO requirement for a 40% reduction in carbon intensity from shipping by 2030.

The shortsea Ro-Ro carrier has earlier pioneered the world’s first dual-fuel LNG PCTCs - Auto Eco and Auto Energy - and piloted the use of biofuels on another vessel, Auto Sky, with the aim of sourcing 80% of its annual fuel demand from alternative fuels by 2030.

“Imminent regulatory changes are shifting the market landscape in favour of green-focused players and these newbuilds represent timely and sizeable investments that offer our clients a sustainable shipping solution with both environmental and cost benefits,” adds Edvardsen.

Costs for shipowners using conventional marine fuels are set to rise with the implementation from 1 January 2023 of the Energy Tax Directive that will impose a hefty tax on fossil fuels supplied in the European Economic Area.

Furthermore, the proposed extension of the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) to shipping, set to take effect from 2024, will require pollutive ship operators to purchase costly carbon allowances that could increase the cost of consuming fossil fuels by as much as 50% based on current carbon pricing, according to UECC’s Energy & Sustainability Manager Daniel Gent.

Equipped for low-carbon fuels

Gent pointed out that UECC will be on course to achieve the proposed FuelEU Maritime target for 2030 of a 6% annual reduction in carbon intensity once the Auto Aspire is brought into operation. All three newbuilds are also in compliance with the IMO’s Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) that comes into force next year.

The newbuild trio are designed initially to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), which can reduce emissions by around 25% compared with other fossil fuels, but will be able to use drop-in fuels with lower carbon intensity such as bio-LNG and synthetic LNG as these become more widely available.

Smart power optimisation

The hybrid battery solution enables additional emissions reductions through peak shaving and the use of battery power to manoeuvre in ports, thereby eliminating harmful discharges of NOx and particulate matter near coastal cities.

The energy efficiency of the vessels is further enhanced by a smart energy management system that contributes to fuel savings, together with an optimised hull design and controllable pitch propeller.

The Auto Aspire, with a length of 169 metres, has capacity to carry 3600 vehicles on 10 cargo decks and, together with its sisterships, will "put sustainability firmly on the map” in the Ro-Ro trade of Northern Europe, according to Edvardsen.

 

Photo credit: UECC
Published: 21 October, 2022

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Alternative Fuels

IUMI: How can liability and compensation regimes adapt to alternative bunker fuels and cargoes?

Existing international liability and compensation regimes do not fully cater to the changes that the use of alternative marine fuels will bring.

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Dangerous cargo

By Tim Howse, Member of the IUMI Legal & Liability Committee and Vice President, Head of Industry Liaison, Gard (UK) Limited

The world economy is transitioning, with industries across the board seeking to reduce their carbon footprint and embrace more sustainable practices. As part of this, there is a huge effort within our industry to look to decarbonise, using alternative fuels such as biofuel, LNG, LPG, ammonia, methanol, and hydrogen.

Until now there has been much focus on carbon emissions and operational risks associated with the use of alternative fuels. This includes increased explosivity, flammability, and corrosivity. An ammonia leak causing an explosion in port could result in personal injuries, not to mention property damage, air, and sea pollution. In addition, alternative fuels may not be compatible with existing onboard systems, increasing the risk of breakdowns and fuel loss resulting in pollution. Apart from these safety concerns, which particularly concern crew, air pollution and other environmental impacts need to be addressed.

However, the green transition also presents us with a separate regulatory challenge, which has received less attention so far. So, whilst carbon emissions and safety concerns are rightly on top of the agenda now, the industry also needs to prioritise the potential barriers in the legal and regulatory frameworks which will come sharply into focus if there is an accident.

If anything, historic maritime disasters like the Torrey Canyon spill in 1967, have taught us that we should look at liability and compensation regimes early and with a degree of realism to ensure society is not caught off-guard. With our combined experience, this is perhaps where the insurance industry can really contribute to the transition.

Currently, existing international liability and compensation regimes do not fully cater to the changes that the use of alternative fuels will bring. For example, an ammonia fuel spill would not fall under the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (Bunkers Convention), potentially resulting in a non-uniform approach to jurisdiction and liability. Similarly, an ammonia cargo incident would not fall under the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC). Uncertainties may also exist in the carriage of CO2 as part of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects, which may be treated as a pollutant, with corresponding penalties or fines.

A multitude of questions will arise depending on what happens, where it happens, and the values involved, many of which may end up as barriers for would be claimants. How will such claims be regulated, will there be scope for limitation of liability, and would there be a right of direct action against the insurers? In the absence of a uniform international liability, compensation and limitation framework, shipowners, managers, charterers, individual crew, and the insurers may be at the mercy of local actions. Increased concerns about seafarer criminalisation (even where international conventions exist, ‘wrongful’ criminalisation does still occur) may emerge, creating another disincentive to go to sea.

When being carried as a cargo, the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea (HNS), which is not yet in force, may resolve some of these issues for alternative fuels and CO2. However, until HNS comes into force, there will be no international uniformity to liability and compensation for the carriage of alternative fuels and CO2 as cargoes. This creates uncertainties for potential victims and their insurers, who may face increased risks and costs, due to the potential inability of existing regulations to provide protections.

The situation is even less clear in the case of bunkers. The rules for using alternative fuels as bunkers might require a separate protocol to HNS, a protocol to the Bunkers Convention, or a whole new convention specifically for alternative fuels.  Relevant considerations for the appropriate legislative vehicle include states’ preparedness to reopen the Bunkers Convention, the ability to conclude a protocol to HNS before it comes into force, and whether a multi-tier fund structure is needed for alternative fuels as bunkers (perhaps unnecessary because bunkers are usually carried in smaller quantities compared to cargoes).

Until then, what we are left with are the existing international protective funds, designed to respond at the highest levels to pollution claims resulting from an oil spill, without any similar mechanism in place to respond to a spill of alternative fuels, which are themselves so central to a green transition. Somewhat perversely, victims of accidents involving an oil spill may therefore enjoy better protections than victims of an alternative fuels spill.

In summary, while the use of alternative fuels will no doubt help to reduce the industry's carbon footprint, there are safety and practical hurdles to overcome. Stakeholders must also come together to find solutions to complex - and urgent, in relative terms - legal and regulatory challenges.

 

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Source:  International Union of Marine Insurance
Published: 13 June 2024

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Ammonia

Expert discusses technical considerations of using ammonia as marine fuel

Ammonia as bunker fuel poses significant safety challenges due to its toxicity and flammability, says Senior Marine Surveyor Muammer Akturk.

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Technical considerations of ammonia as marine fuel

Muammer Akturk, a Senior Marine Surveyor specialising in alternative bunker fuels, on Monday (10 June) published an article on technical considerations of using ammonia as a marine fuel in his Alternative Marine Fuels Newsletter.

The article dives into the use of ammonia as a marine fuel, focusing on the safety and technical considerations necessary for its implementation.

Ammonia is recognised for its potential as a zero-carbon fuel, making it an attractive option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry. However, it poses significant safety challenges due to its toxicity and flammability.

Key points discussed include:

  1. Safety Measures: The importance of stringent design and operational safety measures to prevent ammonia releases and mitigate risks during both normal and emergency conditions is emphasized. This includes the need for gas dispersion analyses and the use of safety systems like gas detectors and alarms
  2. Regulatory Framework: The article reviews the latest regulations and guidelines developed to ensure the safe use of ammonia as a marine fuel. This includes the IACS Unified Requirement H1, which provides a framework for controlling ammonia releases on vessels
  3. Engineering Considerations: Technical aspects such as fuel storage, handling systems, and the role of risk assessments in identifying potential hazards and implementing preventive measures are detailed
  4. Human Factors: The article also considers the human factors approach to safety, emphasizing training and the importance of designing systems that account for human errorOverall, the article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the challenges and solutions associated with using ammonia as a marine fuel, highlighting the importance of safety and regulatory compliance in its adoption.

Editor’s note: The full article can be found at the link here.

 

Published: 13 June 2024

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Methanol

Green Marine Fuels Trading, Vopak team up on green methanol port storage facilities

Green Marine Fuels revealed a strategic collaboration with Vopak to secure necessary port storage to accommodate green methanol supply in Shanghai, Tianjin and later in Singapore.

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Green Marine Fuels Trading, Vopak team up on green methanol port storage facilities

Green Marine Fuels Trading on Tuesday (11 June) announced a strategic collaboration with Royal Vopak Terminals in the key ports of Shanghai Caojing and Tianjin Lingang, China. 

The firm said the milestone agreement marked the next phase of methanol supply chain infrastructure expansion for Green Marine Fuels Trading, securing necessary port storage capacity to accommodate projected supply of green methanol from Chinese business partners.  

Green Marine will be undertaking a similar cooperation plan with Vopak Singapore as well. 

Gavin McGrath, Director at Green Marine, said: “This is an important milestone in the evolution of Green Marine Fuels Trading and further underscores our preparedness to supply green methanol to the imminent green transition within the shipping industry.” 

“Our leadership in the global methanol marine fuel sector uniquely positions us to bridge the gap between methanol producers and buyers, with storage and supply infrastructure being a crucial link in the chain.”

“We eagerly anticipate leveraging our expertise in these domains to enrich the Shanghai and Tianjin green port and marine fuel ecosystems.”

Manifold Times previously reported Vopak signing a strategic cooperation agreement with the Vice Mayor of Tianjin delegation to support the repurposing of Vopak Tianjin's infrastructure for new energies, including green methanol, sustainable aviation fuel, and potentially ammonia and liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC).

Vopak said Tianjin Port Group will work closely with Vopak to develop a green methanol bunkering service solution.

Related: Tianjin Port Group and Vopak partner to develop green methanol bunkering service

 

Photo credit: Green Marine Group
Published: 12 June 2024

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