Spain’s Ferrol Joins Growing List of LNG Bunker Ports
The Port of Ferrol, located in the north-western corner of the Iberian Peninsula, sees the adoption of LNG bunkering as an opportunity to capture more passing marine traffic. Of particular interest is the planned visit in November of the LNG-fuelled cruiseliner, Aida Prima.
Commissioned by Aida Cruises in March 2016, the 18 deck, 300 meter, 124,100 GT vessel can operate in a sustainable way in port, thanks to engines that, during the stay at the dock, consume only liquefied natural gas (LNG), the cleanest of fossil fuels.
Aida Prima is the flagship of the German cruise operator. Built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries at its Nagasaki shipyard, its environmental benefits are derived from three MaK M43C 12V engines and a dual-fuel MaK M46DF engine that can operate with LNG. Since enterig service, it makes regular trips between Hamburg, Southampton, Le Havre and Zeebrugge, four ports in which it can refuel LNG.
The Port Authority of Ferrol-San Cibrao and Reganosa are collaborating to equip themselves with infrastructures and protocols that allow boats of these characteristics to refuel in Ferrol, thereby gaining an important competitive advantage in the light of the evolution of the merchant and passenger fleets. In fact, the port is in a position to offer the service thanks to the works carried out in the port area and the European studies in which the Port Authority and Reganosa have collaborated.
The use of LNG for the operation of the auxiliary engines of the cruisers that supply electric power during their stopovers reduces air pollution at the docks and surrounding urban environment. At the Port of Barcelona, for example, it is estimated to port activities contribute 11% of the city’s total fine particles, of which cruise vessels account for 3%.
Establishing LNG infrastructure at the port will also favour the use of natural gas for land-based port operations, such as the movement of container cranes, which currently use polluting fuels, or for other mobile equipment commonly used at docks.
Studies and relevant work related to the setting up of small scale LNG facilities are being carried out through the European project Core LNGas Hive, also involving the major Spanish ports.
The president of the Port Authority, José Manuel Vilariño, emphasized that the challenge of Aida Cruises fits in with the policy that Ferrol port has been developing in recent years: “With the ports of Xunta, Reganosa, Navantia and Universidad de Santiago, we were pioneers in Spain in studying formulas to respond to the change that is looming for the expansion of LNG as marine fuel. Now we expect companies in the port community to get involved with their investments and make the most of the advantage that we already have in this port with a liquefied natural gas terminal.”
The Port Authority of Ferrol looks not only to capture the cruise bunkering business but is also looking at the growing uptake of this fuel by container ships. Furthermore, proposed expansions of Emission Contral Areas (ECA) will likely lead to all types of vessels having a requirement for LNG in the future.