NYK has commenced the process of converting the LNG-fuelled tugboat Sakigake to run on ammonia instead.

Modification involves replacing the entire LNG engine with an ammonia-fuelled engine at Keihin Dock’s Oppama factory in Japan.

NYK finalised the conversion contract with Keihin Dock in August 2022. The tug completed its final LNG bunkering in July this year.

Once delivered, NYK expects the reconfigured tug to achieve lower greenhouse gas emissions as it operates in Tokyo Bay.

“To replace the entire engine, including the main engine and fuel tank, the engine room will be cut to remove the existing LNG-fuelled equipment and install the new ammonia-fuelled machinery,” NYK said.

“The new engine has been tested at IHI Power Systems’ Ota Plant to confirm virtually zero emissions from the unburned ammonia and the nitrous oxide, which has a greenhouse effect about 300 times greater than carbon dioxide.

“The vessel will continue to be operated by Shin-Nihon Kaiyosha to verify its decarbonisation effect and operational safety as the world’s first ammonia-fuelled vessel.”

The modified Sakigake, or A-Tug, is scheduled for delivery in June 2024.