April 17, 2023
TOKYO-Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL; President & CEO: Takeshi Hashimoto) today announced that the second of Japan's first two LNG-fueled ferries (Note 1), the Sunflower Murasaki, owned by MOL and operated by its group company Ferry Sunflower Co., Ltd. (Ferry Sunflower; President: Mitsujiro Akasaka; Head Office: Oita-shi, Oita Prefecture), entered service on April 14. The vessel is a sister ship to the Sunflower Kurenai, which began operation in January, and will ply the Osaka-Beppu route between Sunflower Ferry Terminal (Osaka Prefecture) and Beppu International Tourist Port (Oita Prefecture) as a replacement for the existing vessel Sunflower Cobalt (Note 2).
Compared to earlier ferries, the new vessel offers greater transport capacity and convenience for both cargo and passenger transport. In freight transportation, it has greater capacity to load trucks and provides a larger, more comfortable room for truck drivers. In addition, the floor area of the Grand Bathroom is doubled and the number of seats in the restaurant was enlarged by 1.5 times, and spacious and open public areas including a three-layer atrium were newly created (Note 3). The new ferry is intended to promote and enhance the company's "Casual Cruise Concept" (Note 4).
Inside the Sunflower Murasaki
The vessel adopts the latest environmentally friendly specifications including a high-performance dual-fuel engine, which can run on both LNG and heavy fuel oil. The use of LNG fuel is expected to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by about 25%, and sulfur oxide (SOx) by virtually 100%.
The MOL Group set a target to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050, and is promoting the wider adoption of LNG fuel through development and advancement of an LNG fuel supply system in Japan and overseas. The group will accelerate its initiatives to reduce total GHG emissions by further expanding the introduction of LNG-fueled vessels, and contribute to the realization of a low-carbon, decarbonized society through the concerted efforts of the entire group.
In the ferry business, the MOL Group decided to integrate the businesses of its wholly owned consolidated subsidiaries, MOL Ferry Co., ltd. (President: Naotoshi Omoto; Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo) and Ferry Sunflower, with the new company launching operations on October 1,2023.
The new ferry company plans to operate a total of four LNG-fueled ferries-adding two in 2025 to replace current vessels in service on the Oarai-Tomakomai route (Note 5), in addition to the two vessels already operated by Ferry Sunflower. In the new MOL Group management plan "BLUE ACTION 2035," the MOL Group will develop a diversified business portfolio, including real property, ferries, and cruises, to form a core pillar of its non-shipping business.
(Note 1) Please refer to the related press releases.
<Mitsui O.S.K. Lines>
(Note 2) Comparison with ferries currently in service
|Truck loading capacity (Units) (converted to 13m)||137||92|
|Speed||22.5 knots||22.4 knots|
|Gross tonnage||17,114 tons||9,245 tons|
|Fuel||LNG/Heavy oil||Heavy oil|
(Note 3) For details on the vessel, please refer to the Ferry Sunflower website.
大阪～別府航路 新造船さんふらわあ くれない・さんふらわあ むらさき | フェリーさんふらわあ (ferry-sunflower.co.jp)
(Note 4) The basic concept of the MOL Group's ferry business, which allows passengers to casually enjoy high-quality cruises with regular routes and schedules.
(Note 5) Please refer to the related press release.
February 17, 2022: MOL and MOL Ferry to Build 2 Cutting-edge LNG-powered Ferries - Introducing Super Eco Ferries Adopting Wind Power: Responding to Accelerating Modal Shift -
MOL Group 5 Sustainability Issues
MOL Group will contribute to realizing a sustainable society by promoting responses to sustainability issues, which are identified as social issues that must be addressed as priorities through its business.
We anticipate this initiative to contribute especially to the realization of "Safety & Value -Provide added value through safe transportation and our social infrastructure business-", "Environment -Conservation for Marine and global environment-", "Human & Community -Contributing to the growth and development of people and communities-", "Innovation -Innovation for development in marine technology-".