MOL Held Naming And Launching Ceremony For Japan’s First LNG-Fueled Ferry, Sunflower Murasaki

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL; President & CEO: Takeshi Hashimoto) today announced that on August 30, naming and launching ceremonies for the second of Japan’s first two LNG-fueled ferries, which were ordered from Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. (President: Toru Kitamura; Headquarters: Nishi-Ku, Yokohama-shi), were held at the Enoura Plant of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works (Shimonoseki-shi, Yamaguchi Prefecture).

MOL Chairman Junichiro Ikeda named the vessel the “Sunflower Murasaki”. On hand for the rope-cutting honours was para-athlete Maya Nakanishi, who has ties to both Osaka and Oita Prefecture, homes to the ports the new ferry will serve. The vessel is a sister ship to the “Sunflower Kurenai,” which was named and launched in March of this year. After delivery from Mitsubishi Shipbuilding in March 2023, it is slated to enter service on the Osaka-Beppu route, as an alternative to the vessel currently in service, operated by Ferry Sunflower Co., Ltd. (President: Mitsujiro Akasaka; Head Office: Oita-shi, Oita Prefecture).

Compared to the vessels currently in service, the new ferry will offer greater transport capacity and convenience for both cargo and passenger transport. In freight transport, the MOL Group will accelerate its response to Japan’s Modal Shift by significantly increasing its truck transport capacity and expanding the driver’s rooms. For additional passenger comfort and convenience, the new ferry features interconnecting passenger rooms, which will be a first for a long-distance ferry, and quietness will be improved by state-of-the-art technology and uncompromised design, to further enhance Sunflower Ferry’s “Casual Cruise Concept.”

Comparison with ferries in service
Credits: MOL

The MOL Group has moved forward with an initiative to introduce clean alternative fuels in line with “MOL Group Environmental Vision 2.1” established in June 2021, with the aim of achieving net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.

LNG fuel is expected to achieve a significant reduction in GHG emissions, for example, about 25% less carbon dioxide (CO2) in comparison to conventional fuel oils, and it has been used as a marine fuel for many years. The MOL Group has promoted the introduction of LNG-fueled vessels as “a currently feasible initiative on reducing GHG emissions.” It aims at further reduction of GHG emissions by adopting LNG-fueled vessels as a transition towards the aim of Net Zero Emissions by 2050.

The MOL Group has already ordered four LNG-fueled ferries in the ferry business. It will construct two cutting-edge LNG-fueled ferries following the Sunflower Kurenai and “Sunflower Murasaki”. These vessels are slated to be launched on the Oarai-Tomakomai route, operated by MOL Ferry Co., Ltd. (President: Naotoshi Omoto; Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo) in 2025 as an alternative to ferries currently in service. The group continually strives to achieve a low- and decarbonized society through its concerted efforts.

Reference: MOL

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