Hapag-Lloyd first in to convert large container ship to LNG

Paul Gunton

06 February 2019

Hamburg-based container ship operator Hapag Lloyd has announced a decision to convert the first of the 17 ‘gas-ready’ vessels it acquired under the merger with UASCO in 2017.

This will be the first ever conversion of a container ship of this size to run on LNG.

Hapag-Lloyd will retrofit its 2014-built 15,000teu Sajir to operate using LNG. In future, the engine system will be able to function using either LNG or low-sulphur fuel oil (LSFO). The contract for the retrofitting was signed at the end of last week with Hudong Zhongua Shipbuilding. The conversion will be carried out in the Shanghai-based shipyard Huarun Dadong Dockyard.

During its time in the shipyard, the ship’s fuel system and its existing MAN B&W 9S90ME-C10 heavy fuel oil-burning engine will be converted into a dual fuel variant. The plan will be to operate the vessel using LNG, but to also be able to use LSFO as a backup. “By converting the Sajir, we will be the first shipping company in the world to retrofit a container ship of this size to LNG propulsion”, said Richard von Berlepsch, Managing Director Fleet Management at Hapag-Lloyd. “By carrying out this unprecedented pilot, we hope to learn for the future and to pave the way for large ships to be retrofitted to use this alternative fuel.”

The Sajir is one of the 17 vessels in Hapag-Lloyd’s fleet that were originally designed to be LNG-ready. Its 16 sister ships are also technically prepared for retrofitting. With the conversion of the first vessel Hapag-Lloyd will be implementing a technological option to reduce the environmental impact of large vessels.