The conversion of Hapag-Lloyd’s 15,000 teu containership Sajir to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) has taken a major step forwards. The 1,300-tonne fuel tank was lifted into position last week.

The tank will now be welded to the hold. Concurrently, the main engine and the auxiliary diesel engines are being converted to dual-fuel operation for LNG and low-sulphur fuel oil.

The conversion is estimated to cost USD53 million. The use of LNG has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by 15-30 percent and sulphur dioxide and particulate matter emissions by more than 90 percent, said the carrier.

“With this unique pilot project, we hope to learn for the future and to pave the way for large ships to be retrofitted to use this promising alternative fuel. However, our long-term goal continues to be CO2-neutral shipping operations using synthetic natural gas (SNG),” said Richard von Berlepsch, managing director fleet at Hapag-Lloyd.