JANUARY 14, 2015 — Finland's Meriaura Group has ordered two 4,700 dwt VG EcoCoaster general cargo ships from Dutch shipbuilder Royal Bodewes. Delivery of the first vessel from the shipyard is due at the end of July, 2016 and the second will follow three months later. Meriaura's special purpose ship, the Meri, built in the Turku shipyard in 2012, is reportedly the first cargo ship in the world able to operate on biofuel and these latest additions to its fleet will also be biofuel capable.
The VG EcoCoaster is designed to have considerably less environmental impact than conventional dry cargo vessels. The hull and machinery are optimized for a speed of 10.5 knots in open water conditions.
Power required for Ice Class 1A is achieved by a diesel electric driven booster unit. The aim is to almost halve the fuel consumption compared to conventional dry cargo vessels of similar type and size, and therefore also cut emissions significantly.
The vessels will be equipped with a dual fuel system, with the ABC 8DZC main engine being capable of operation on biofuel and MGO.
Biofuel for the vessels is produced in Meriaura Group member VG-Shipping's own refinery located in Uusikaupunki, Finland.
Meriaura is expanding and renewing its fleet. In December the company reported the time chartering of four more dry cargo vessels.
The fleet renewal program aims to lower fuel consumption and GHG emissions.
"Our goal is that in five years' time at least 50% of our fleet consists of fuel efficient and low emission EcoCoasters that are run on biofuel produced of recycled oils. Designing of larger EcoCoaster is under process" says Jussi Mälkiä, President of Meriaura Group.
Currently Meriaura's fleet consists of 20 vessels.