Tallink’s LNG-fuelled Megastar operates between Helsinki and Tallinn
The International Maritime Organization’s 2050 greenhouse gas reduction targets are, to say the least, very strict and challenging. To meet them, marine operations departments will need to prepare for future energy scenarios that they may not even be aware of currently. For Tallink Grupp, this challenge comes alongside the ever-relevant goal of improving the efficiency of our existing fleet. In such an uncertain environment, we would need to use a crystal ball to perfectly align our plans with the future.
That’s why Tallink Grupp is welcoming cooperation with universities, IT start-ups and companies in the maritime industry as we search for the best possible solutions. We have several different ongoing projects, focusing on efficiency and compliance with the relevant requirements. For example, the Smart Car Deck project, which is currently underway in cooperation with Tallinn Technical University and aims to further automate the loading and unloading process of our vessels. The introduction of this new technology will optimise how we position all the vehicles on the car decks of our ferries, ensuring the best possible stability, use of cargo space and fuel efficiency for each trip.
The enforcement of the Ballast Water Management Convention has led us to work towards installing ballast water treatment plants on our ships according to our predefined dry-docking plans and the validity of each ship’s International Oil Pollution Prevention certificate. We are also involved in projects concerning the use of high-voltage shore connection (HVSC). The Port of Stockholm in Sweden has helped to pioneer this technology in the Baltic Sea region and two of our ships already use the HVSC there. Soon, we will have two more ships using shore power in the region as other ports, such as the Port of Tallinn in Estonia, are currently investing in hardware to facilitate HVSC. In the coming years, this will enable us to use shore power during longer port stays in our regular destinations.
In addition, we are working with Finnish start-up Fleetrange on a performance monitoring system called Nautic AI. The system is currently under development but aims to provide a comprehensive data collection and analysis tool to manage the entire fleet, enhancing our ability to produce relevant reports in the future.
An important development milestone for us will be the completion of our newbuild MyStar, scheduled for the end of 2021. MyStar will make use of the same LNG and diesel-electric solution that is installed on our flagship vessel Megastar, which became the first LNG-powered shuttle vessel when she entered service on the Tallinn-Helsinki route in January 2017. We view this as the most future-proof solution at present.
We are already seeing new fuels emerging into the market, such as hydrotreated vegetable oil or gas-to-liquids fuels. These can be considered as mid-term, transitionary solutions that are helping ferry operators on the way to meeting the global greenhouse gas reduction targets. There are also other revolutionary developments underway, which will hopefully enable the full decarbonisation of the shipping industry in the future.
Carlos Tuulik is chief captain and head of ship management at Tallink Grupp
This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
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