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First liquefied natural gas refuelling in Italy

Published: 05.11.2020 For the cruise line Costa Cruises, the harbour authorities and the Italian coast guard in La Spezia, 25 October 2020 was a big day. This was the day when the first ship-to-ship refuelling with liquefied natural gas (LNG) took place in Italy.

LNG is natural gas that has been liquefied and compressed by cooling to –162 °C. It has 1/600th the volume of natural gas in its gaseous state. It is considered the cleanest fossil fuel, as neither sulphur dioxides, soot particles nor particulate matter are formed in its combustion and the emission of nitrogen oxides is reduced by up to 80 per cent.

The flagship of the Costa fleet, the Costa Smeralda, which was built at the Meyer Werft shipyard, refuelled with LNG from the product tanker Coral Methane, built in 2009. The tanker is one of four ships which were financed at that time by KfW IPEX-Bank for the Anthony Veder Group (AVG) from the Netherlands. AVG is a shipping company that specialises in liquid gas transport and bunkers. Many components for liquid gas logistics are supplied by German exporters belonging to the German GeMaX exporter platform, which was also initiated by KfW IPEX-Bank among others.

The recent refuelling event in La Spezia, which was meticulously prepared by a group of maritime experts, took place at an especially secure part of La Spezia, the Molo Garibaldi pier.

The Costa Smeralda is the first ship in the Costa fleet to be LNG-powered and will be followed by the Costa Toscana, its sister LNG ship, scheduled for delivery in the last quarter of 2021. A further LNG-powered ship, the AIDAnova, also financed by KfW IPEX-Bank and in operation in the Costa fleet since 2018, will be followed by two further sister ships by 2023. All these ships will be built by the Meyer Werft shipyard, which is one of only a few shipyards worldwide able to install the highly complex LNG drive technology on passenger ships.