Berlin, 23 December 2022 – The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) is funding the construction of three new bunker ships for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) with a total of approximately 62 million euros.

The Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Dr Robert Habeck, handed over the corresponding funding notifications on 23 December 2022 at Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft – the future shipyard of the three new vessels – to the shipping companies forming a partnership involving Nordic Hamburg Group, a company with expertise in ship management and shipbuilding, Titan LNG, an LNG/Bio-LNG bunker supplier as charterer of the vessels, and WESMAR, a consulting and project development company. With the help of the funding, the first innovative projects can be realised by way of the Directive on Funding for the Construction of Refuelling Vessels for LNG and Sustainable Renewable Fuel Alternatives in Shipping.

Specifically, three bunker vessels designed and developed by HB Hunte Engineering will be built, each with a tank capacity of 4,500 m³ to supply LNG to adjacent ships in German and European seaports. In addition to being a source of energy for natural gas supply, LNG is also considered an environmentally friendly alternative for conventional marine fuels and a bridge fuel for renewable fuels such as bio-LNG and synthetic LNG (SNG). In addition, the technological transformation path for a later use of ammonia can also be depicted. The three bunker ships are already being designed for this purpose so that they are suitable for future upgrading for the use of ammonia. In the long term, ammonia can play an important role as a climate-friendly maritime fuel, as it can be efficiently produced from renewable sources and consumed without producing CO2. However, the use of ammonia as a shipping fuel still requires further technological and regulatory development steps.

As things stand, LNG still has the highest technological market penetration among the alternative marine fuels, followed by methanol and other options. This is also reflected in the worldwide order book: More than half of the worldwide shipyard orders are for LNG-fuelled vessels. The three new bunker vessels will expand the overall capacity for efficient and environmentally friendly ‘ship-to-ship’ LNG bunkering offers. The new ships are to be built in Germany. A significant part of the value creation for this innovative shipbuilding technology will be provided by the German maritime industry.

On behalf of the BMWK, NOW GmbH is accompanying the implementation of the Directive on Funding for the Construction of Refuelling Vessels for LNG and Sustainable Renewable Fuel Alternatives in Shipping (Richtlinie über Zuwendungen für den Bau von Betankungsschiffen für LNG und nachhaltige erneuerbare Kraftstoffalternativen in der Schifffahrt) and is supporting the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA – Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle) in this process.


Photo: Richard Grube (Nordic Hamburg Group), Federal Minister of Economic Affairs Robert Habeck and Christian Hoepfner (Wessels Marine)