Mitsui OSK Lines has teamed up with Tsuneishi Shipbuilding and Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding on a project to build an emission-free liquid gas carrier by 2026.

The partners are developing the design which will be fuelled by ammonia.

Describing the ship the partners said it will be a mid-size ammonia and LPG carrier. The main engine will run mainly on ammonia and it will use some of its cargo as fuel.

The vessel, which will have a cargo capacity of around 40,000-cbm, is being designed to call at major ammonia and LPG ports around the world. It will be able to operate on a broad range of routes, the partners said.

They hope to complete what could be the world’s first net-zero emission ocean-going ship by 2026.

Pundits have said zero-emission ships will have to be in operation by 2030 if shipping is to reach its goal of decarbonising by 2050.

Tsuneishi and Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding already have a technical collaboration agreement. As part of the deal Tsuneishi is also now the majority shareholder in Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding.

The new ammonia fuel LPG carrier project is an interesting development for Tsuneishi which is predominantly a builder of bulk carriers — although it recently entered into the LPG sector through a contract to build a 5,000-cbm vessel.

Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding is no longer constructing ships in Japan but is offering technical, design and engineering services to the shipbuilding industry.