Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) has announced plans to construct Japan’s first dual fuel tugboat – powered by either heavy oil or LNG.

Other than LNG carriers, this tugboat will be the first building in Japan of an LNG-fueled vessel.

NYK has enhanced its initiatives to mitigate environmental loads through the practical realisation of environment-responsive technologies such as solar-powered systems and air-lubrication systems. In 2011, NYK established a team in the company’s Fuel Group to research next-generation fuel alternatives to heavy oil, and looked into building an LNG-fueled vessel with the cooperation of Nippon Kaiji Kyokai and others, based on the results of a survey conducted by the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency.

LNG received attention as a possible alternative to heavy oil because LNG does not emit any SOX and produces far less CO2 and NOX compared to heavy oil. In fact, using LNG as a fuel will cut this tugboat’s emissions of CO2 by about 30%, NOX by about 80%, and SOX by 100% compared to using heavy oil.

This project will be subsidised by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd. will supply the LNG, and with the support of Tokyo Gas, NYK will make arrangements for a safe LNG supply system.

The NYK Group will aggressively continue to encourage initiatives to mitigate environmental loads by vessels.