Singapore Carries Out Ship-to-Ship Bunkering of Close to 1,340 Metric Tonnes of Blended Methanol

Singapore is advancing its capabilities in methanol bunkering on a commercial scale. On May 24, 2024, nearly 1,340 metric tonnes (MT) of blended methanol were bunkered ship-to-ship, with a simultaneous methanol bunkering and cargo operation for a container vessel planned for the following week. These operations will also test mass flow meters (MFM) and digital bunkering technologies.

Proman’s marketing arm, Valenz, supplied the blended methanol lifted at Vopak Penjuru Terminal, Singapore. Proman reports that this blend delivers a 31% CO2e saving on a tank-to-wake basis compared to Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO). Blended methanol helps ships meet GHG emissions limits set by Fuel EU Maritime for vessels trading in the European Union and European Economic Area. The International Maritime Organization is currently discussing the lifecycle emissions accounting framework. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) aims to ensure that metrics for maritime fuels, including well-to-wake and tank-to-wake, are measurable, reportable, and verifiable, updating these as more data is reviewed.

The MT Kara complies with the IMO’s International Bulk Chemical Code and Standards for Port Limit Bunker Tankers. It features twin screw propulsion, a bow thruster, an onboard mass flow metering system, a flow boom for transferring hoses, and a vapour recovery line. For safe handling of methanol, it is equipped with nitrogen bottles for purging hoses and nitrogen padding to reduce flammability risk. Additionally, it has Quick Connect Quick Disconnect (QCDC) and Dry Breakaway Couplings (DBC) to minimize leaks and enable quick disconnections in emergencies.

MPA is exploring further enhancements for such tankers as part of its development of the methanol bunkering licensing framework. The ongoing technical reference for methanol bunkering will include guidelines for MFM and digital bunkering, incorporating data from these operations.

Preparations for the bunkering operation included a risk assessment, a bunkering plan, and safety checklists, ensuring all parties understood safety measures and emergency protocols. The Emergency Operations Centre at MPA’s Port Operations Control Center monitored the operation, using a drone with a volatile organic compound detector and an infrared camera to detect methanol leaks and flames. The methanol plume model, updated from the first operation in July 2023, supported planning and incident response.

The crew from Kara completed an MPA-approved training course on methanol handling at the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA), launched in April 2024. The course, part of the Maritime Energy Training Facility Initiative announced at the 2024 Singapore Maritime Week, covers operational and safety aspects of methanol bunkering.

MPA Chief Executive Teo Eng Dih stated, “We continue to enhance MaritimeSG’s ecosystem capabilities from each bunkering operation involving new maritime fuels. We thank Proman, Global Energy Group, and Stellar Shipmanagement for the successful ship-to-ship bunkering of close to 1,340 MT of blended methanol. This step supports the international maritime community and complements MPA’s earlier call for proposals to supply methanol as a marine bunker fuel at scale in Singapore.”

Proman CEO David Cassidy commented, “Bunkering this 20/80 green/conventional methanol blend on Stena Prosperous is a step forward for methanol as a marine fuel. Its cleaner burning properties and lower emissions support the shipping industry’s decarbonization goals. We thank all parties involved for the successful collaboration.”

Munee Chow, Group Business Manager of Global Energy Group, congratulated all partners on this milestone towards decarbonization. Stellar Shipmanagement General Manager Kelvin Kang noted that this operation provided valuable insights to improve future methanol handling efficiency and safety.

The Stena Prosperous was officially named on May 23, 2024, at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre, Singapore, and will depart for the United States with its cargo.

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