Maersk and Hong Lam Marine Pte Ltd have successfully conducted the world’s first ship-to-containership methanol bunkering operation of a Maersk’s container vessel on 27 Jul 2023 at the Raffles Reserved Anchorage in Singapore, with the support
of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), government agencies and research institutes. This is also Singapore’s first methanol bunkering operation.
Maersk’s container vessel – the world’s first container vessel sailing on green methanol – was successfully refuelled with approximately 300 metric tonnes of bio-methanol via Hong Lam Marine’s Singapore-registered tanker,
MT Agility, for its onward maiden passage to Copenhagen. MT Agility had earlier taken bio-methanol stored at Vopak Terminals. The container vessel will be named in a ceremony in Copenhagen in September.
In preparation for the methanol bunkering operation in Singapore, MPA worked with over 28 agencies, partners and institutes to organise table-top exercises (TTX) and workshops, before carrying out a Ground Deployment Exercise (GDX). The first TTX was held during Singapore Maritime Week 2023 to identify safety measures and clarify roles and responsibilities for a coordinated cross-agency response to a methanol incident at sea. A separate Hazard Identification (HAZID) and Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP) workshop was conducted to identify potential risks and develop corresponding prevention, control, and mitigation methods. These were further evaluated during a second TTX and a GDX at sea in July 2023 with various stakeholders and government agencies. Customised methanol firefighting programme was also conducted by the Co-operative of SCDF Employees Ltd (COSEM) for MPA staff and Hong Lam Marine crew members as part of the preparations for the bunkering operation.
As part of the risk and environmental impact assessment for the methanol bunkering operation, MPA reviewed methanol-related incidents globally and worked with the Meteorological Service of Singapore to provide advance lightning risk warning if required.
A methanol plume model was jointly developed by the Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC), A*STAR, Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI), National University of Singapore, and the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore (TCOMS),
to forecast the dispersion path of the methanol plume in an event of an accidental methanol release and guide operations. The model is a combination of dispersion in the air layer using computational fluid dynamics by IHPC, weather forecast and air
quality modelling by TMSI, and plume dispersion in the sea via metocean modelling and prediction by TCOMS. During the methanol bunkering operation, researchers from the Cambridge Centre for Advanced Research and Education in Singapore flew drones
equipped with methanol detector with plume modelling capabilities and infrared camera from MPA’s patrol craft MPA Guardian to augment the detection of potential methanol leaks into the atmosphere and methanol flames in an event of an accidental
leak. These novel capabilities will be further enhanced to support the review of responses to maritime incidents and raise the preparedness of seafarers, marine professionals, and the port ecosystem in Singapore as new marine fuels such as methanol
Prior to the operation, researchers from A*STAR’s IHPC worked together with MPA Singapore and other agencies, partners and institutes to support safety preparations for the ground deployment exercise. This included forecasting the dispersion path
of the methanol plume in the air layer using computational fluid dynamics and other data sources, in the event of an accidental methanol release.
Such novel capabilities will be further enhanced to help raise the preparedness of the port ecosystem in Singapore as new marine fuels such as methanol are introduced.
Photo: MPA FacebookPhoto: MPA Facebook
Photo: MPA Facebook