The 186m long Napoles, which has capacity for 1,600 passengers and 1,430 lane metres of cargo, is the first of five ships that Baleària plans to convert to dual fuel operations in order to comply with forthcoming IMO sulphur cap regulations. The work, it is claimed, will also reduce CO2 emissions by around 35%, NOx by 85% and eliminate particulate matter entirely. The total cost of the conversion, which was partly funded by the EU through its Connected Europe Fund, is estimated to have been €12 million.
Napoles arrived at Gibdock on 15 November 2018. The majority of the conversion work took place alongside the yard’s main repair wharf, with some elements of the LNG conversion taking place in Gibdock’s Panamax size Dock No.1. To minimise time spent out of service, Gibdock also carried out some scheduled standard drydocking work, including the withdrawal of the vessel’s two bow thrusters, which were completely overhauled in Gibdock’s specialised, well-equipped workshops.
The scope of work contracted to Gibdock as part of the LNG dual fuel conversion included extensive modifications to Deck 1 to accommodate the 200tonne, 27m by 6m diameter LNG fuel tank, which was delivered by Wärtsilä. This involved the installation of high tensile steel supports designed to safely contain the tank, especially when cooling down.
Gibdock also cropped Decks 5 to 2 on the ferry to create a route through which to lower the 400m3 capacity tank, using a 600tonne crawler crane. The crane itself was delivered from Spain in 22 lorry loads and then reassembled at the yard, a process that alone took seven days to complete.
Prior to the vessel’s arrival at the yard, Gibdock had already pre-fabricated the two LNG bunker fuel reception stations. One unit, weighing 19tonnes, was installed on the port side and a smaller station, weighing 6tonnes, on the starboard side. “The decision to prefabricate these units before the arrival of the vessel was crucial to ensuring that the overall package of work could be completed within the desired time frame,” Pocock added. Gibdock also fabricated bulkheads for the tank control room and rebuilt the decks once the tank and loading stations were in position.
John Taylor, Gibdock’s operations director, highlighted the fact that another key element of the project was the modification of the MAN 9L 48/60-A main engines, which was undertaken by engineers from MAN Primeserv.
Once the modified engines and LNG storage tanks were in place, extensive system testing was carried out both in the yard and at sea. Gibdock played a full part in this process, alongside specialist engineers from MAN and Wärtsilä. Napoles finally left Gibraltar on 22 March and is now operating between Huelva and the Canary Islands.