May 28, 2024 | Marine fuel & lubricant news

According to Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA), X-Press Feeders, Global Energy Trading (GET), and PSA Singapore (PSA) have successfully completed the first simultaneous methanol bunkering and cargo operation (Simops) in Singapore.

The Simops was conducted at the new Tuas Port with the support of MPA, together with various government agencies and local research institutions. The use of the mass flow metering (MFM) system for methanol, together with the use of digital bunkering, was trialled during the Simops. This follows the inaugural ship-to-containership methanol bunkering for the Laura Maersk in July 2023, and the successful ship-to-ship methanol bunkering of close to 1,340t of blended methanol for the Stena Prosperous earlier in May 2024.

An X-Press Feeder container vessel on her maiden voyage from Asia to Europe was successfully refuelled with close to 300t of bio-methanol by GET, a MPA-licensed bunker supplier, using Kara, a dedicated IMO type II chemical bunker tanker classified by Bureau Veritas and operated by Stellar Shipmanagement Services. The methanol fuel was supplied simultaneously while the container vessel was completing container movements. Simops is the preferred mode of operation for container vessels to enhance operational efficiency. The cargo operation was carried out with the use of PSA’s double trolley quay cranes and automated guided vehicles at Tuas Port. The Simops was completed in four hours. With these operations, MPA considers the Port of Singapore to be ready for commercial scale operations for shore-to-ship, ship-to-ship, and Simops for methanol, and the same methodology is being followed for other new maritime fuels such as ammonia and hydrogen.

The ISCC-certified bio-methanol used for the Simops was produced by green methanol producer OCI Global, and supplied via GET, a ISCC-certified supplier. The fuel was lifted at Vopak Penjuru Terminal, Singapore, which is a ISCC-certified storage facility for biofuels and methanol.

A Hazard Identification (Hazid) and Hazard and Operability Study (Hazop) workshop was organised by MPA in the lead up to the Simops.  Adapting the experience from previous operations, participants from various government agencies, industry, and local research institutions, discussed potential risks and developed the corresponding prevention, control, and mitigation methods to address them.

To ensure the safe conduct of the Simops, MPA worked closely with the bunkering stakeholders to ensure that crew members were competent and trained in handling methanol as a marine fuel and associated emergency responses. The Emergency Operations Centre set up at MPA’s Port Operations Control Centre monitored the operations, supported by a drone equipped with volatile organic compound detector and infrared camera to detect methanol leaks into the atmosphere and methanol flames in the event of an incident.

MPA CEO Teo Eng Dih said: “The successful execution of the Simops is the outcome of many months of preparation for tripartite stakeholders to plan, prepare, and train to ensure the safety of the crew, port and vessel, while maintaining a high level of efficiency. The learnings gained from these operations will help to further refine the various SOPs and safety measures. We thank all our Simops partners in helping to achieve this and we look forward to working with other like-minded partners, including on the use of digital bunkering and mass flow meter solutions, to operationalise the delivery of the new marine fuels in Singapore.”

Francis Goh, COO X-Press Feeders said: “Today marks a historic milestone for both Singapore and the global maritime industry. Our vessel was not just the first to berth alongside here in Singapore and refuelled with green methanol, which reduces carbon emissions by 65% as compared to conventional marine fuel, but we were also the first in Singapore to achieve this while simultaneously loading and discharging cargo. These achievements demonstrate Singapore’s position at the forefront of the global maritime industry’s transition to renewable fuels. By working together collaboratively, we can achieve even greater progress.”

Image: X-Press feeders vessel bunkering methanol in Singapore (source: MPA)

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