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Maersk will build eight 16,000 TEU ships powered by methanol

A.P. Moller-Maersk announced on December 8th that it will be building eight 16,000 twenty-foot unit (teu) container ships powered by “carbon-neutral methanol” with an alternative capability for low sulphur diesel fuel:

“Today, we introduce the design of our eight groundbreaking and industry-leading 16,000 TEU container vessels powered by carbon-neutral methanol,” announced Palle Laursen, chief technical officer, A.P. Moller – Maersk.

He said the new ships to be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea, “comes with an innovative dual-fuel engine setup that can operate on methanol and conventional low-sulphur fuel.” With fuel capacity, “the vessels will be able to complete an entire round-trip, for example Asia-Europe, on green methanol.”

Laursen explained: “Unique to the industry, this design allows a 20% improved energy efficiency per transported container, when comparing to the industry average for vessels in this size. Additionally, the entire series is expected to save around one million tons of annual CO2 emissions, offering our customers carbon-neutral transportation at scale on ocean trades.”

He said the new ships will be 350 meters long, 53.5 meters wide and will look significantly different from what has been seen before for any larger container vessels: 

“The crew accommodation and bridge will be located at the bow to enable increased container capacity. The funnel will be in the aft, and only on one side of the vessel, thereby providing further space for cargo. This separation between accommodation and funnel will also improve efficiency when at the port.”

Laursen said the making of this took nearly five years, and “crossing uncharted naval design territory.” To enable this new design, several challenges had to be addressed:

Firstly, crew comfort “had to be ensured with the accommodation placed in this more exposed location.” 

Moreover, adequate hull strength was also a key parameter to safeguard, with the accommodation block normally working as a hull “stiffener” when placed further backwards. 

New arrangements for lifeboats and navigational lights had to be developed.

New cameras will be deployed to “support the captains view when navigating.”

The first vessel is scheduled to be in operation at the beginning of 2024.

Stas Margaronis
Stas Margaronis


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