Classification society Lloyd’s Register (LR), shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and shipping company MISC via its subsidiary, AET, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the development and construction of two very large crude carriers which can be operated on zero-emission fuel.

The three companies, all founding members of The Castor Initiative, are taking the lead to encourage the use of green ammonia as propulsion fuel, with the first of these dual-fuel tankers entering into service in late 2025 and the second in early 2026.

The Castor Initiative, a multinational coalition committed to make zero-emission in shipping a reality, includes MISC, LR, SHI, engine manufacturer MAN Energy Solutions (MAN), the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Norwegian fertilizer company Yara International and Jurong Port (JP).

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Following the inking of this MOU, The Castor Initiative members will focus on identifying green shipping corridors to facilitate the bunkering of these zero-emission very large crude carriers (VLCCs).

Motivated by the partners’ shared belief that the maritime industry needs leadership and greater collaboration if shipping is to meet the IMO’s GHG ambitions, The Castor Initiative members will also be looking into the establishment of approved training syllabus for seafarers in at least two maritime training institutions. It is crucial to ensure that the latest training and education is provided to the crew to enable the smooth operations of the zero-emission VLCCs, according to the partners.

“In 2018, Lloyd’s Register made it clear that the IMO’s 2050 emission target would require deep-sea zero-emission vessels to be entering service before 2030, and that zero-emission operation would need to become the default for most deep-sea ships delivered after 2030,” Nick Brown, Lloyd’s Register Group Chief Executive, said.

“Since then, we’ve seen the IPCC report of 2021 issue ‘a code red for humanity, and many call for net-zero emissions by 2050. Today’s announcement fires the starting gun for deep-sea shipping to transition to a fuel which contains no carbon molecules, and Lloyd’s Register is delighted to be supporting this transition.”

“We are very delighted to be a part of this … collaboration paving the pathway to zero-emission shipping. The Castor Initiative members have already made impressive progress in making deep-sea zero-carbon vessels in the last few years, and we believe this new development of zero-carbon VLCCs will be accelerating the progress of The Castor Initiative and greatly help bring sooner energy transition in the shipping industry,” J. T. Jung, SHI President and CEO, commented.

“The signing of today’s MOU is the beginning of many more forward moves that will come from The Castor Initiative, to accomplish our GHG ambitions jointly, ahead of 2050. The efforts of our collaboration have brought us to this historic moment where we will soon see the delivery of the world’s first two zero-emission VLCCs, which will be owned and operated by AET,” Datuk Yee Yang Chien, MISC President and Group CEO, noted.

“Getting these vessels on water is not the only focus, there is the long game of ensuring the reskilling of talent and the availability of bunkering facilities which are key to the sustainable operations of these two new vessels.”

“It is great to see the active collaboration within the Castor Initiative resulting in this MOU of three of our Castor Initiative Members jointly making the step to making ammonia as a fuel a reality. The development and construction of these two zero-emission VLCCs shows that ammonia as a fuel is becoming a reality, also in this ship segment”, Murali Srinivasan, Sr. VP & Commercial Head, Yara Clean Ammonia, said.

“This MOU marks an important milestone in our decarbonisation journey. It is an important part of our efforts to support global efforts towards the future of shipping through a multi-fuel transition guided by the Maritime Singapore Decarbonisation Blueprint 2050. Partnerships are key and the global shipping community must continue to work closely together to achieve our decarbonisation goals,” Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore, added.

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