The Japanese transport ministry has announced plans to draw up safety standards for vessels powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) in order to accelerate the commercialisation of the eco-friendly ships to replace oil-fuelled vessels.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry will seek 647m yen ($8m) during 2012 to prepare a model fuel tank and engine on shore to check for any structural problems and confirm the strength of piping and features.

It is also planning to conduct an experiment at sea by refuelling a ship with LNG, which easily gasifies.

According to the Japanese transport ministry, natural gas costs one third of petroleum, and emits 25% less CO2 and up to 70% less nitrogen oxide.

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