First 1,000-Foot Vessel to be Converted by Spring 2015
Citing environmental benefits, Ohio’s Interlake Steamship says it has reached an agreement in principle with Shell for the supply of liquefied natural gas to support conversion of its fleet of Great Lakes ships to LNG as the main propulsion fuel.
“These ships are expected to be the first LNG-powered ships on the Great Lakes and among the first in the U.S.,” Interlake said. The firm aims to complete to complete the first conversion by spring 2015.
Interlake Steamship operates six Great Lakes freighters. Lakes Shipping has three and Interlake Leasing has one.
‘The Next Level’
The first for LNG? “We expect it to be one of our 1,000-foot class,” Interlake president Mark Barker told F&F. “The Mesabi Miner will probably be the first.”
No word yet on engines.
Interlake says that it is already working through engineering and design, seeking regulatory approval and securing financing. “Shell would be Interlake’s exclusive supplier of LNG for each converted vessel,” Interlake says.
“This move takes our dedication to environmental stewardship to the next level,” Barker says in the Interlake announcement. “While the marine mode of transportation is already by far the most environmentally friendly way to move goods throughout the Great Lakes region, operating on LNG would further reduce our vessels’ environmental impacts.
Shell LNG from Sarnia, Ontario
“The marine transportation industry already supports thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in wages throughout the Great Lakes,” Barker said. “We are now evolving in a way that would allow Interlake to participate in the long-term growth and economic prosperity of the region that it has served for 100 years. This move allows us to back the growing natural gas industry, which is also creating valuable jobs here in the U.S.”
Interlake notes that Shell has announced plans to invest in a natural gas liquefaction unit at Sarnia, Ontario. Shell will supply LNG fuel throughout the Great Lakes, their bordering U.S. States, Canadian provinces and the St. Lawrence Seaway.
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Source: The Interlake Steamship Company with Fleets & Fuels follow-up