Shipping giant MOL said on Thursday that Mitsubishi Shipbuilding has launched Japan’s first LNG-fueled ferry, Sunflower Kurenai.
Mitsubishi Shipbuilding, a part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, held the launching and naming ceremony at MHI’s Shimonoseki Shipyard.
Back in 2019, MOL ordered two LNG ferries, Sunflower Kurenai and Sunflower Murasaki, at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding.
MOL’s firm Ferry Sunflower will use both these vessels on its Osaka-Beppu route.
According to MOL, the first ferry should enter service in January 2023, after delivery from Mitsubishi Shipbuilding.
Compared to the vessel in service, the new ferry would offer “greater transport capacity and convenience” for both cargo and passenger transport.
In freight transportation, it would “significantly” increase the number of trucks to be loaded and expand the driver’s room to provide a driver-friendly space, MOL said.
The ferry and its sister vessel would have a capacity for 716 passengers and a truck loading capacity for 137 units, MOL said.
They will be 199.9 meters long with a gross tonnage of about 17,300 tons.
Besides these two ships. MOL recently ordered two LNG-powered ferries at compatriot shipbuilder Naikai Zosen.
MOL said that the 199.4 meters long LNG-powered ferries would join its unit MOL Ferry in 2025.