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Fortescue's Ammonia-Powered Ship Completes Sea Trials in Singapore
Fortescue's Ammonia-Powered Ship Completes Sea Trials in Singapore

Fortescue's Ammonia-Powered Ship Completes Sea Trials in Singapore

  • 07-May-2024 5:06 PM
  • Journalist: Patrick Knight

With assistance from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), government bodies, research institutions, and industry collaborators, Fortescue has effectively concluded propulsion and maneuvering tests for its vessel, the Fortescue Green Pioneer, registered in Singapore. These trials, spanning from April 23, 2024, to May 2, 2024, involved the utilization of 6.4 cubic meters (4.4 tonnes) of liquid ammonia, in conjunction with diesel and Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO), a second-generation biofuel, as marine propulsion fuel.

This recent achievement comes after the Fortescue Green Pioneer conducted the world's inaugural dual-fueled ammonia trial at the Port of Singapore in March 2024. During this trial, the vessel obtained flag approval from the Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) and received the "Gas Fuelled Ammonia" notation from the classification society DNV, allowing it to utilize ammonia along with diesel as marine fuel.

The endorsement and notation were granted after a sequence of fuel trials spanning seven weeks in February and March 2024, involving the utilization of five cubic meters (approximately three tonnes) of liquid ammonia. These trials, executed by the Fortescue Green Pioneer while anchored, encompassed assessments of the vessel's ammonia storage systems, connected piping, gas fuel delivery system, retrofitted engines, and seaworthiness. In April 2024, during the Singapore Maritime Week, members of the maritime community had the opportunity to visit the vessel and learn about the trials, emergency protocols, and seafarer training related to the safe handling of ammonia fuel.

To support this series of trials, which included propulsion and maneuverability assessments as part of the vessel's ongoing sea trials, an additional volume of around 6.4 cubic meters (equivalent to 4.4 tonnes) of liquid ammonia was loaded on April 23, 2024, at Vopak Banyan Terminal, Jurong Island.

MPA designated a test area at Raffles Reserved Anchorage for the trials, while the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was established at MPA’s Port Operations Control Centre. Representatives from MPA, Fortescue, Vopak, research institutes, and government agencies monitored fuel loading and sea trial operations. The EOC utilized ammonia plume modeling and drone surveillance to bolster safety and incident response planning. This trial framework can be expanded to support sea trials for planned ammonia-fueled vessels under the Singapore Registry of Ships before their delivery, if necessary.

The propulsion and maneuverability trials encompassed assessments to verify the handling of nitrogen-based emissions and evaluate the vessel’s engine performance under different blends of HVO alongside ammonia.

As vessels become more digitalized and interconnected, MPA is enhancing maritime cybersecurity measures. Discussions are underway with Fortescue regarding the monitoring of onboard information and operational technology systems on the Fortescue Green Pioneer to bolster vessel resilience against cyber threats. In the forthcoming months, the Fortescue Green Pioneer is anticipated to raise awareness about the importance of the global shipping sector adopting solutions like green ammonia.

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