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Japanese shipping firm Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and its group company Ferry Sunflower have revealed plans to build Japan’s first two liquified natural gas (LNG)-fuelled ferries.

The ferries will be named Sunflower Kurenai and the Sunflower Murasaki. Mitsubishi Shipbuilding will construct the vessels after signing an agreement next month.

Ferry Sunflower will charter the vessels and deploy them on its Osaka-Beppu route from the end of 2022 through the first half of 2023.

Featuring dual-fuel engines, the ferries will produce less noise during operations and help the company to reduce CO₂ emissions by 20% compared to its existing ships. It will also eliminate most of sulfur oxide emissions.

With a length of 199.9m, each ship will have the capacity to carry a total of 763 passengers. The ferries will be able to cruise at a speed of 22.5k.

MOL said: “The new ferries will feature with amenities worthy of the tradition they inherit on the Osaka-Beppu route, which has a proud history of more than 100 years and further expand the ‘casual cruise concept’.”

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By GlobalData

Last month, MOL partnered with Oki Electric Industry to launch a joint study of the OKI’s new ‘FlyingView’ bird’s-eye view monitoring system.

MOL and Oshima Shipbuilding received an approval in principle (AIP) from ship classification society ClassNK for hard sail system design.

In September, MOL developed an AI-powered vessel allocation and cargo loading plan for car carriers in collaboration with its group company MOL Information Systems and Osaka University.

During the same month, MOL and SenseTime Japan released a vessel image recognition and recording system to support automated ship monitoring.