Stellar Shipmanagement Services Pte Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Global Energy Group, has taken delivery of MT Maple, a 4,000 deadweight IMO Type 2 oil and chemical tanker, that also has the distinction of being the first dedicated methanol bunkering tanker to operate out of the Port of Singapore.
Built by Sasaki Shipbuilding Co of Japan and classed by Bureau Veritas, the delivery ceremony took place at Osakikamijima, Hiroshima, on 13th December. Maple is equipped with twin-screw propulsion, flow boom and a mass flow metering system, while being compliant with the Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) current licensing requirements for Oil Product Bunker Tankers. Notably, the ship’s cargo tanks are coated with inorganic zinc silicates for the carriage of methanol. A sister ship also built by Sasaki Shipbuilding, MT Kara, was launched on 29th November and is scheduled for delivery in March 2024.
Another subsidiary of Global Energy Group, Global Energy Trading Pte Ltd (GET), a fuel supplier licensed by both the Singapore MPA and United Arab Emirates, plans to offer methanol among its range of marine fuels from the start of 2024.
Several other Singapore-based bunker suppliers are reported to be working on methanol or methanol-ready tankers, with some deliveries expected during late 2024. IN February 2023, Golden Island Diesel Oil Trading told the Singapore Manifold Times that it anticipates beginning methanol bunkering operations in 2026 and has completed the design phase on an 8-12,000 dwt methanol bunker tanker that will be built in either China or Japan.
It’s less than six months since the first successful methanol bunkering operation was conducted in Singapore, when the then-unnamed 32,300 dwt Laura Maersk was refueled with approximately 300 mt of bio-methanol from the bunker vessel MT Agility, while en route to its naming ceremony in Copenhagen. Lauded as a milestone in Singapore’s green shipping future it was preceded by an exhaustive Working Group consultation and safety investigations led by the MPA, including HAZID and HAZOP workshops and the development of a customised methanol firefighting programme. A Technical Reference based on the Working Group findings is expected to be published in early 2024.
In addition, on 14th December, MPA issued an Expression of Interest (EOI) inviting parties interested in supplying methanol as a bunker fuel to the port to submit their proposals by the end of February. The EOI focuses on three areas: (a) methanol supply sources, (b) methanol bunkering operation model at commercial scale in Singapore and, (c) alternatives to the physical transfer of methanol molecules to Singapore such as mass balancing.