SINGAPORE’S first ever simultaneous methanol bunkering and cargo operation (SIMOPS) has been completed at Tuas Port.

On 27 May an X-Press Feeder container vessel (name not released) on her maiden voyage from Asia to Europe was refueled with close to 300MT of bio-methanol.

The bunker operation, completed in four hours, was conducted by Global Energy Trading while the vessel was completing container moves, and was facilitated by the MT Kara, a dedicated IMO type II chemical bunker tanker operated by Stellar Shipmanagement Services.

The successful SIMOPS is a positive step for the future of alternative fuel bunkering in the context of container vessels, a simultaneous operation being preferred to enhance operational efficiency, and opens the door for SIMOPS methodology to be adopted for other alternative fuels such as ammonia and hydrogen.

X-Press Feeders COO Francis Goh said, “Today marks a historic milestone for both Singapore and the global maritime industry. These achievements demonstrate Singapore’s position at the forefront of the global maritime industry’s transition to renewable fuels.”

The success of SIMOPS comes less than a year after the world’s first ship-to-containership methanol bunkering was conducted in Singapore in July 2023 for the vessel Laura Maersk.

Following that milestone last year, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) launched an expression of interest for the supply of methanol as a marine fuel, receiving 50 submissions in total from various international energy companies, fuel suppliers, traders, bunker operators, and storage companies.

The MPA says the strong interest provides a clear indication that the maritime industry is preparing for methanol bunker demand to scale up in the coming years.

MPA CEO Teo Eng Dih said, “The successful execution of the SIMOPS is the outcome of many months of preparation for tripartite stakeholders to plan, prepare, and train to ensure the safety of the crew, port and vessel, while maintaining a high level of efficiency.”

The use of the Mass Flow Metering (MFM) system as well as digital bunkering were also trialed during the SIMOPS.

On 24 May, prior to SIMOPS, close to 1340MT of blended methanol was bunkered ship to ship, received by the tanker Stena Prosperous.