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TOTE nears three year anniversary of start of LNG fueled operations

Written by Nick Blenkey
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TOTE's Isla Bella —the world's first LNG-fueled containership

SEPTEMBER 7, 2018 — TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico is returning positive reports on its two LNG fueled containerships as they near the third anniversary of commencing operations.

Built by shipbuilder GD NASSCO, San Diego, CA, and powered by the first ME-GI dual fuel engines produced by MAN Energy Solutions, the 3,100 TEU sister ships Isla Bella and Perla del Caribe serve the route between Jacksonville, FL, and San Juan, Puerto Rico

“The relationship between MAN and TOTE has been strong with excellent collaboration from the top level all the way to the engine room, and that continues,” says TOTE President and CEO Tim Nolan. “TOTE is proud to be an LNG first mover. We are committed to environmental responsibility, especially in terms of clean emissions that preserve the perfect areas of the Caribbean that our vessels operate in. As we enable the Jones Act trade, we see nothing but enduring benefit for the people in Florida and Puerto Rico over the next 25-30 years of these ships’ lives.”

Peter Keller, Executive Vice President of TOTE, said: “The LNG fueled ME-GI engine represents TOTE’s commitment to environmental stewardship. Importantly, LNG as a fuel eliminates SOx and particulate matter, significantly reduces NOx and –increasingly importantly – contributes to the reduction of green house gases. This gives us the ability to move forward aggressively in terms of air quality which is especially important in the pristine areas of the Caribbean and Florida where our vessels operate.”

“LNG is the fuel of choice for many operators going forward and, in combination with this very reliable dual-fuel technology, provides the quality benefits that we’re all looking for,” Keller added. “Acting as a pioneer and adopting new technology early in its lifetime always bears an element of risk, but our belief in the ME-GI’s concept has proved justified.

“With over 200 ME-GI units ordered or already in service, the ME-GI engine has gathered references in every major marine segment and, as confirmed by TOTE’s experience, is mature technology,” said Bjarne Foldager – VP, Sales & Promotion, Two-Stroke Business at MAN Energy Solutions. “The ME-GI continues to act as standard bearer for environmentally friendly, reliable propulsion technology with its seamless switching between fuels and elimination of methane slip, and we look forward to developing the concept even further in the future.”

“Indeed, when you add in MAN Energy Solutions’ entire portfolio of dual-fuel engines, we have confirmed 250-plus sales,” Foldager added. “These all run on LNG or other, clean fuels such as LPG and methanol, testament to our leadership within this critical market segment.”

TOTE also reports that the six MAN 9L28/32DF auxiliary engines aboard the containerships have performed as well as their main counterparts.

TOTE’s Alaska division has contracted MAN PrimeServ – MAN Energy Solutions’ after-sales division – to convert the four MAN 58/64 engines in each of its RO/RO ships North Star and Midnight Sun to dual-fuel operation on LNG.


Apart from his role with TOTE, Peter Keller is also Chairman of SEA/LNG, a multi-sector industry coalition created to accelerate the widespread adoption of LNG as a marine fuel. MAN Energy Solutions is also a member of the coalition with Stefan Eefting, Senior Vice President and Head of MAN PrimeServ, Augsburg, acting as a member of its Board of Directors.

“As a coalition, SEA/LNG is expanding, which illustrates the momentum behind the use of LNG as a marine fuel,” said Keller. “Our members span the entire LNG value chain and recognize that by pooling knowledge and working together, we can help drive the change needed across the marine transportation system. We’re showing the market that LNG works well, and continues to work well.”

TOTE Maritime is playing a leading role in the expansion of LNG infrastructure locally with JAX LNG, its LNG supplier, currently constructing a state-of-the-art LNG facility near Jacksonville. While the Isla Bella and Perla del Caribe have safely bunkered LNG through a truck-to-ship process since launch, the new facility – upon completion – will be the first, small-scale coastal LNG facility in North America that offers ship-to-ship and barge-to-ship bunkering.



MAN Energy Solutions ME-GI (-Gas Injection) engine combines the unique properties of multi-fuel combustion and the well-known reliability of MAN Energy Solutions ME-engine. The Diesel principle gives the ME-GI engine with high operational stability and efficiency, including during load changes and fuel change-over, while defining properties such as a stable change-over from fuel to gas with no fuel-penalties are maintained.

MAN Energy Solution has also developed an ME-LGI (-Liquid Gas Injection) dual-fuel engine that expands the company’s dual-fuel portfolio, enabling the use of fuels such as methanol, ethanol and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

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