Totem Ocean picks shipyard for conversion of its Ro-Ro vessel to LNG propulsion
Totem Ocean Trailer Express (Totem Ocean) announced that it has signed a contract with Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd (Keppel O&M)’s wholly owned subsidiary Keppel Shipyard Ltd for the conversion of the Midnight Sun to dual fuel liquefied natural gas (LNG) propulsion. This is the world’s first major conversion of a large RO/RO vessel to LNG. The work will begin in December and is expected to be completed in 90 days, the Company said in a press release.
Once complete, the Midnight Sun will emit fewer air and greenhouse gas emissions, reducing emissions of particulate matter by 91 percent, NOx by 100 percent, SOx by 90 percent and carbon dioxide by 35 percent. Her sister ship, the North Star, is expected to be converted in the 2016/2017 time frame.
Totem Ocean will be the first in North America to begin the conversion to natural gas. Totem Ocean is part of the TOTE and Saltchuk organization that is leading the maritime industry into LNG with the introduction of the world’s first LNG powered containership into the Puerto Rico trade later this year.
“Totem Ocean is excited to partner with Keppel for the conversion of the Midnight Sun, enabling her to operate on natural gas” stated John Parrott, President of Totem Ocean. “The removal and replacement of the four engines, adding 2,200 cubic meters of LNG capacity along with the addition of 47 kilometers of new cabling is a complex undertaking, and we are confident that Keppel will provide safe, timely, high-quality work to ensure the best outcome for Totem Ocean and our customers.”
Mr Michael Chia, Managing Director (Marine & Technology), Keppel Offshore & Marine, said, “We are happy to start a new partnership with Totem Ocean who has entrusted us with the conversion of their first RO/RO vessel to run on both diesel and natural gas. Due to natural gas’ cleaner burning properties, more and more vessel owners are choosing to have their ships powered by LNG. Leveraging our strong track record and experience in ship modification and conversion work, Keppel is well positioned to capture this growing market to meet the industry’s needs for environmentally friendly solutions.”
Puget Sound Energy, in partnership with Totem Ocean and the Port of Tacoma, has plans to construct an LNG liquefaction terminal at the Port that will serve Totem Ocean, residents of Puget Sound and the broader transportation industry in the Pacific Northwest. This facility is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2018.
In the short term, TOTE and its partner WesPac are building North America’s first LNG bunker barge to deliver fuel to the ships once converted.
Totem Ocean is the leading oceangoing carrier for the Alaska trade, providing twice-weekly service between the ports of Tacoma and Anchorage.