By year-end, the number of dedicated LNG bunker-supply ships in service will have increased from one to five. But what does the future hold for this new vessel type?
This year marks the dawning of the LNG-bunkering vessel age, with several newbuildings due to make their debut, including Engie Zeebrugge, at Zeebrugge, with which NYK is involved.
Since the decision to implement the global sulphur cap from 2020, shipowners and operators are looking at how to comply with the regulation, including LNG as marine fuel. Increasing the number of ship-to-ship LNG bunkering operations should encourage momentum in shipowners’ decision-making, leading to an increase in LNG bunker demand.
Through live operations, owners and operators of LNG bunker-supply ships should learn lessons that can be utilised to design new specs and guidelines for these kinds of vessels in future.
At this early stage, it is not only about the shipowners; we also need involvement and support from port authorities, industrial organisations and class societies to create safe, practical and user-friendly regulations and standards.