Flogas Britain has collaborated with Associated British Ports (ABP) to bunker a ship with liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The development is the first LNG ship bunkering operation to take place in the UK, has already seen the refuelling of a 110m vessel named 'Ireland' with LNG at the ABP-operated Port of Immingham.
The new tanker-to-ship LNG bunkering will allow the port to carry out refuelling activities for visiting ships.
LNG has become an increasingly popular fuel for the shipping industry in recent years due to its ability to help vessels comply with existing and future climate legislation.
Flogas managing director Lee Gannon said: “At Flogas, we pride ourselves on leading the way when it comes to developing the LNG industry in the UK, and exploring new opportunities for end users to benefit from this highly versatile fuel.
“There is great potential for LNG in the maritime industry as a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional oil-based bunker fuels, but until now this potential has remained untapped here in the UK.”
Flogas also noted that there are currently only a few LNG-bunkering ships in the UK, but demand for the fuel is expected to grow as environmental regulations increasingly prohibit the use of polluting heavy fuel oils.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has already placed a cap on sulphur content in marine fuel oil to reduce the limit from the current 3.5% to 0.5%. The cap is set to enter into force by 2020.
ABP Immingham and Grimsby port manager Mark Frith said: “Demand is already beginning to shift away from oil across the international fleet, and we very much see natural gas taking its place as the marine fuel of choice.
“We look forward to welcoming increasing numbers of ships to Immingham as a result of our new and unique offering in partnership with Flogas.”
Flogas is also expected to invest in storage and bunkering facilities at various ABP ports when required.
Image: ABP Immingham and Grimsby port manager Mark Frith and James Goodson. Photo: courtesy of Flogas Britain Ltd / Associated British Ports.