MOL, BHP Billiton, DNV GL, Rio Tinto, SDARI and Woodside team up on joint study of LNG-fuelled Capesize bulker 

Green Corridor initiative agreed ahead of calls for stricter international rules on environmental protection. 

Mitsui OSK Lines, Ltd (MOL) has reached an agreement to launch a joint study of a liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fuelled Capesize bulker with five other companies - BHP Billiton, DNV GL, Rio Tinto, Shanghai Merchant Ship Design and Research Institute (SDARI) and Woodside Energy. The parties signed a letter of agreement at a ceremony held in Singapore on January 20.

The joint research project, called Green Corridor, aims to reduce merchant vessels' emissions of NOX and SOX in advance of international treaties calling for stricter emissions standards, and will examine the technological and economic feasibility of an LNG-fuelled bulker.

SOX emissions from vessels are addressed in the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Treaty Annex VI (prevention of air pollution), and vessels are required to use bunker fuel with a sulfur content of 0.1% or less in Emission Control Areas (ECAs) such as North America. In general sea areas (all excluding ECAs), the treaty is expected to reduce the maximum sulfur content of bunker in use from the current standard 3.5% to 0.5% in 2020. The regulation will be applied to vessels already in service.

In a statement on the new agreement, the MOL Group said it “continually takes a proactive approach to developing and adopting technologies that contribute to reducing environmental impact and enhancing safe operation, while providing safe and reliable transport services.”