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Japan’s 1st LNG fuelled ferry Sunflower Kurenai enters service reducing environmental impact realising modal shift and offering ‘Casual Cruise’

The Sunflower Kurenai

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines,  announced that the first of Japan’s first two LNG-fueled ferries, the Sunflower Kurenai, owned by MOL and operated by its group company Ferry Sunflower , entered service on January 13. The ferry serves the Osaka-Beppu route between Sunflower Ferry Terminal and Beppu International Tourist Port  as a replacement for the ferry Sunflower Ivory.

Compared to earlier ferries, the new ferry 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 1.5 times, and spacious and open public areas including a three-layer atrium were newly created . The new vessel is intended to promote and enhance the company’s “Casual Cruise Concept”.

It is Japan’s first ferry to adopt the latest environmental-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 the target to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050 in the “MOL Group Environmental Vision 2.1” established in June 2021, and it is promoting the wider adoption of LNG fuel through development and advancement of an LNG fuel supply system in Japan and overseas.

In the ferry business, MOL has already ordered four LNG-fueled ferries, including the vessel. Following the Sunflower Kurenai and the Sunflower Murasaki, the first and second LNG-fueled vessels operated by Ferry Sunflower, the company plans to build two state-of-the-art LNG-fueled ferries and put  them into service in 2025 to replace vessels currently plying the Oarai-Tomakomai route operated by MOL Ferry Co., Ltd. (President & CEO: Naotoshi Omoto; Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo).

MOL will further expand the adoption of LNG-fueled vessels, accelerate its efforts to reduce total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and contribute to the realization of a low-carbon, decarbonized society through the concerted efforts of the entire Group.

Please refer to related press releases

<Mitsui O.S.K. Lines>

  • November 20, 2019 press release: MOL Group to Build Japan’s 1st LNG-fueled Ferries: Sunflower Kurenai and Sunflower Murasaki
  • March 3, 2022 press release: MOL Holds Naming/Launching Ceremonies for Japan’s 1st LNG-fueled Ferry Sunflower Kurenai – Slated to Enter Service on Osaka-Beppu Route in January 2023
  • December 22, 2022 press release: LNG-fueled Ferry Sunflower Kurenai Starts to Receive LNG Fuel Supply – Marks Japan’s 1st Truck-to-Ship LNG Bunkering with Skid –

<Ferry Sunflower>

[Comparison with ferries currently in service]

(In service)
Passenger capacity 716 710
Truck loading capacity (Units) (converted to 13m) 137 92
Speed 22.5 knots 22.4 knots
LOA 199.9m 153.0m
Gross tonnage About 17,300 tons 9,245 tons
Fuel LNG/Heavy oil Heavy oil


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