With the AIDAnova slated to start regular service in the Canary Islands in December, Carnival Corporation has been working on the LNG bunkering processes and procedures not only for the new AIDA ship but also for the Costa and Carnival ships that will follow.
Carnival has contracted Shell to supply AIDA and Costa with LNG in Northern and Southern Europe and Carnival in Southern Florida. A bunkering solution for P&O’s new ships, which will also be LNG-fueled, was in the discussion stage, according to Tom Strang, senior vice president of maritime affairs.
“Because of the volume we are going to consume, LNG will be supplied by a bunker vessel,” he continued. “Shell already has a bunker vessel, the Cardissa based out of Rotterdam, and has another vessel under contract that is currently being adapted to bunkering.
“There are only six bunkering vessels for LNG in the world of which two will be dedicated to our trade going forward.”
A barge is under construction for bunkering in South Florida that will be ready by the first quarter of 2021.
The LNG capacity of the new cruise ships will be 3,620 cubic meters in three tanks, Strang said. “The typical maximum bunkering load we can take will be just over 3,000 cubic meters which should take from six to 10 hours, a little bit longer than traditional bunkering, but not significantly so.”
The ships will be dual fuel, meaning that will also carry MGO onboard as a pilot fuel and also to satisfy the safe return to port requirements.
In order to bunker, Shell needs approval permits in every port, Strang explained. He described it as a complex process where Shell has to run risk and hazard assessments together with the ports and authorities, unlike bunkering HFO or MGO that do not require a similar approval process.
“As part of the process we have gone through with Shell we have developed a very specific bunkering protocol,” Strang said.
The cruise line’s class society must also approve the procedures as must the class society for the bunkering vessel along with the port and local authorities before permits are granted.
Strang added: “If we had waited until the infrastructure was there before placing orders we would only now be thinking about possible orders. We took the view that this is the best fuel available for environmental performance and a number of other reasons, and then we entered into partnerships to build the infrastructure when and where we need it.”