Japan’s first ever LNG-fuelled tugboat was successfully received by NYK from Keihin Dock. Expectations are for the Sakigake to confirm LNG’s viability as a reliable and sufficient marine fuel.

The vessel is to serve the purposes of Wing Maritime Service Corporation along the lines of a charter deal. It is set to operate primarily at the Kawasaki and Yokohama ports.

The all new tug’s equipment features dual-fuel engines that present the option of running on LNG as well as on diesel oil, depending on the particular conditions of the situation. In comparison to other conventional types of tugs that employ marine diesel oil, Sakigake is able to emit roughly 30% less carbon dioxide, around 80% less nitrogen oxide and absolutely no sulfur oxide when running on LNG.

Japan Takes Delivery Of First LNG-Fuelled Tug

The tugboats’ small size, the major variation in engine power and the limited amount of space make it a rather difficult challenge to construct a tugboat that runs on LNG, as commented by NYK via a press release. Keihin Dock, however, managed achieving a top-level environmental performance while being able to keep the same hull form and steering performance of a standard tugboat.

In order to accomplish this, Keihin Dock endeavoured on a close co-op effort with Niigata Power Systems for designing and building the dual-fuel engine, and with Air Water Plant & Engineering for developing the LNG-supply equipment.

The tug is going to be supplied with LNG from a tanker truck located at a pier in Yokohama. There’s been a lot of effort put in with the Tokyo Gas supplier in order to guarantee that the LNG will be supplied in a safe and efficient manner and won’t breach any laws and regulations. The first trial fueling was successfully conducted back in July.

At the moment, patents are pending for the LNG carburetion system and LNG receiving system of the vessel.
The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry along with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport subsidized the project, while ClassNK was responsible for providing joint research support.

The NYK Group has also managed constructing the first LNG-fueled car carrier in the world, and is set to take participation in the LNG bunkering business. Along the lines of the company’s More Than Shipping 2018 medium-term management plan, it is to contribute for the continued spreading and development of LNG fuel for the purposes of fueling vessels.

The Sakigake tug has a length of 37.20 meters, a breadth of 10.20 meters and gross tonnage level of 272 tons. It will be operating under the Japanese flag.