Interview: BC Ferries Pressing On with LNG Switch

first_imgThe latest 0.1% Sulphur Directive effective January 1 has left the shipping industry with three possible choices on how to respond to the latest fuel requirements within the Emission Control Areas (ECAs): switch to Low Sulphur Marine Gas Oils (LSMO), install SOx scrubbers, or convert to alternative marine fuels such as Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).According to a recent survey performed by MEC Intelligence, around 20% of shipowners are opting for LNG as compliance fuel, with the majority of retrofit and newbuild orders recorded within the passenger industry.Mark Wilson, Vice President of Engineering at BC Ferries.One of the top investors in the LNG technology is Canada’s ferry operator BC Ferries. World Maritime News Staff spoke to Mark Wilson, Vice President of Engineering at BC Ferries, to find out why the switch to LNG was deemed the most viable option out of the three.WMN: Has BC Ferries’ business operation been affected by the new sulphur requirements and, if so, in what way? What has been the impact on ferry prices, existing routes? MW: BC Ferries hasn’t been affected by the new requirements because we have been using ultra low sulphur fuel for several years now.  We’ve been meeting or exceeding these new environmental requirements for several years so we do not see it impacting our business.WMN: Various issues have been raised with respect to the new regulations’ knock-on effect beyond the shipping industry, resulting in road congestion and greater pollution? What is your position on this?MW: BC Ferries is unique in the sense that the majority of our routes do not have parallel road infrastructure. For all but 3 of our 24 routes, ferries are the only means to transport vehicles to those locations.WMN: What is the most cost-efficient option for ferry companies to meet the new requirements? Alternative fuels, retrofits, scrubbers or maybe a combination of various solutions?MW: In our case it is a mix of options. We continue to burn ultra low sulphur diesel, convert some of the existing fleet to LNG where there is a business case, and finally introduce LNG in our newbuild program.WMN: What are the greatest challenges at the moment when switching to more ecological solutions regarding ship design and performance of vessels?MW: One of the bigger challenges for us is understanding and getting certainty around the rules and regulations in Canada of LNG-fuelled ferries as they are new to Canada.WMN: Would you say that LNG is a widely-accepted option among ferry businesses?MW: We have seen a considerable uptake in LNG-fuelled ferries over the last 10 years and believe that trend will continue for both economic and environmental reasons. In North America we are starting to see other operators making the switch to LNG.An artist’s rendering of the new intermediate class ferries.WMN: Back in June 2014, BC Ferries awarded Poland’s Remontowa Shipyard a CAD 165 million contract to build three dual-fuelled intermediate class ferries, capable of using both LNG or diesel fuel for propulsion. Was the switch to LNG mainly done to reduce fuel costs?MW: Yes, the switch was done to reduce fuel costs and to reduce our environmental impact. Last year, we spent CAD 126m on diesel to fuel the fleet. In our fleet of 35 ships, these three new dual-fuel intermediate class vessels operating on LNG alone will have the potential to save approximately CAD 3m per year, so the use of LNG will greatly reduce upward pressure on ferry fares for our customers. WMN: Is the conversion of the Spirit of Vancouver Island and the Spirit of British Columbia to dual fuel going according to plans? Has the conversion been in any way affected by the recent significant drop in oil prices?MW: This project is now proceeding with a competitive contracting process with several shipyards to determine the final shipyard. While the price of oil has recently decreased, there is still a significant difference in the price of diesel and the price of LNG, which is abundant here in British Columbia. One needs to keep in mind that we build vessels for a 40-year life and believe that there will continue to be a price differential in BC between LNG and diesel.WMN: Would you opt for LNG-fuelled newbuilds today, given the current oil prices?MW: Yes, because LNG technology for ferries has significantly evolved and there is no significant difference between the capital cost of an LNG-fuelled ferry and a diesel-fuelled ferry.WMN: Over the next 12 years, BC Ferries plans to invest over CAD 3 billion in fleet renewal, IT systems and marine structures. Are there any concrete plans so far on potential new orders? Can we expect more LNG-powered ferries?MW: We have at least 10 ships to renew over the next 10 – 12 years and LNG will most likely play a role in several of those vessels.WMN: What course do you see the ferry industry taking in the next decade? What kind of technological developments can we expect?MW: We have some smaller vessels as well as some shuttle ferries to build in the future, so addition to LNG, we will be working with industry and other ferry operators to explore possibilities in hybrid, electric and fuel-cell technologies. We will look to new technologies and efficiency in order to continue to deliver a safe, reliable and cost-effective service, while reducing our environmental impact.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

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Desert Design Berber Carpets Added to Museum Collection in Marrakech

Rabat – The Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) Museum in Marrakech has announced that its new exhibition, “Desert Design,” will showcase the “incredible talent of Berber weavers.”The exhibition, which will run from June 16 to October 8, will feature 30 rugs woven by women of the Aït Khebbach tribe, from the easternmost region of Morocco.The vibrancy and patterns of the rugs, as well as the recycled material used to make them, “bear witness to the remarkable creativity of these Berber weavers, and contrast with the harsh and desolate environment in which they live,” said the YSL Museum in a statement. The YSL museum, next to the famed Majorelle Garden that once belonged to Yves Saint Laurent, opened its doors in 2017. As well as housing a permanent exhibition hall displaying the works of Yves Saint Laurent, the museum also houses a hall for temporary exhibitions, where the “Desert Design” exhibition will be on display.Arnaud Maurieres, the co-curator of the exhibition, explained in the statement how the ‘Desert Design” came to be. “In December 2010, we were exploring the eastern Moroccan desert, a vast plain devoid of trees, shadows, and water. It was there, in the middle of nowhere, that we came upon two modest earthen structures: the home of our guide, Lahcen, and his family,” Maurieres explained.“Nine people lived within the walls; there was nothing in the unpainted interior that resembled furniture. The only thing we noticed was a pile of rugs in the corner of one of the rooms.”“As they were unfolded to welcome us, the floor suddenly seemed dappled with vibrant colors, which astounded us. Lahcen told us that all the women of his tribe wove such rugs, and asked if we wanted to meet them. It was how our adventure began.”Moroccan designer Younes Duret is to credit for the design of the exhibition. The second co-curator, along with Arnaud Maurieres, is Christine Bouilloc.Bouilloc is the director of the Musee Bargoin de Clermont-Ferrand in Clermont Auvergne Metropole, France,  which is cosponsoring the exhibition. The exhibition will travel to the Musee Bargoin de Clermont-Ferrand after Marrakech, and be on display there from 2 November 2019 through 5 April 2020.Read also: Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech Wins 2018 ‘AFEX’ for its Architecture read more

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