The order of four VLGCs to be powered by ammonia will support the adoption of carbon-neutral fuels by the shipping industry and the development of supply chains for green hydrogen, with the seaborne carriage of liquid ammonia as a practical means to transport green energy.
Shipowner Naftomar Shipping has announced an order for four very large ammonia carriers, to be built by shipyard Hanwha Ocean under Bureau Veritas (BV) classification. With a capacity of 93,000 m3, the ships are among the world’s largest ammonia carriers ordered so far and are set to be delivered from 2026.
The ships will be fitted with a ME-LGIP LPG dual-fuel engine, ready to be converted to use ammonia as fuel when the MAN ES ammonia engine retrofit kit is made available. The fuel supply system, as well as all other auxiliary and safety systems and spaces including bunkering, fuel preparation rooms and piping, will be able to handle both LPG and ammonia to facilitate a swift conversion.
In the longer term, the objective is for the ships to consume their green ammonia cargo as fuel for transportation. This, combined with use of biofuel as the pilot fuel which is required in all ammonia engine technology, will make these ships truly carbon neutral in transporting their zero carbon and sustainable green cargo.
As classification society, Bureau Veritas will validate the safety aspects of using ammonia as a fuel, under its Rules for ammonia-fuelled ships (NR671), which include requirements for a thorough risk assessment of all safety systems.
Moreover, the VLGCs will be equipped with Hanwha Ocean’s SmartShip platform (HS4) and shaft generator motor system, which enhances fuel efficiency. The ships’ specification includes a series of BV notations that will promote performance and efficiency, covering aspects from the minimized environmental footprint, increased crew comfort and high levels of digitalization, to connectivity and cyber resilience.
The vessels will be deployed in the green ammonia trade, which is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. Several locations are currently examining the possibility of using their abundant renewable energy sources to produce green hydrogen and green ammonia, which will be in high demand to support the energy transition in Northern Europe and elsewhere.
George-Paul Perantzakis, Fleet and Technical Director at Naftomar Shipping & Trading, said: "The order of four very large ammonia carriers supports two important developments towards zero-carbon energy: firstly, the adoption of carbon neutral fuels by the shipping industry and, second, the establishment of global supply chains for green hydrogen from its production sites to its industrial and energy consumers."