Junichiro Ikeda President & CEO, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. announced that three MOL Group vessels—the LNG-fueled tugboat Ishin and the ferries Sunflower Kurenai and Sunflower Murasaki —have earned the top rating of five stars from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT)’s energy conservation rating system for coastal ships.

The rating is based on LNG-fueled ships environmental performance, specifically a reduction of more than 20% in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) compared to vessels powered by conventional heavy oil.

The Ishin, and Japan’s first LNG-fueled ferries—the Sunflower Kurenai and Sunflower Murasaki are currently under construction. The three vessels were awarded the highest rating of four stars under the ministry’s temporary rating system, and with the system in full operation, have once again received top honors.

The Ishin, the first LNG-fueled ship owned by MOL, is in operation and building a solid track record as the first LNG-fueled tugboat serving Osaka Bay. MOL also promotes the wider use of LNG as a marine fuel as a forerunner in the trend toward LNG-fueled ships, for example, by cooperating in LNG fuel supply trials in the ports of Kobe and Nagoya.

The Sunflower Kurenai and Sunflower Murasaki are slated for launching from the end of 2022 through the first half of 2023 on the Ferry Sunflower-operated Osaka-Beppu route as an alternative to existing vessels.

The MOL Group sets “Promotion of environmental strategies and development of the emission-free business into a core business” as a core strategy in its Rolling Plan 2020 management plan. The group continually develops technologies for LNG-fueled ships and strives to reduce the environmental impact of its operations.