The Japanese government decided to subsidize domestic shipping and shipbuilding companies and carry out the plan to build ocean liners powered by natural gas in 2015. A natural gas-powered ship emits 25% less carbon dioxide and 40% less nitrogen oxide than a heavy oil-powered ship, and it does not emit any sulfur oxide at all. Although Norway uses small coasting liner powered by natural gas, Japan will supposedly be the first country that introduces natural gas-powered ocean liners like oil tankers for the first time in the world. The Japanese government wishes to increase the competitive edge of the Japanese shipbuilding industry in the world market.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure,Transport and Tourism will recruit participating companies toward this summer to start the research on necessary technological development. The research team will study necessary technology for fuel tank and gas supply equipment and conduct simulation on steering. Beginning in 2013, it will subsidize part of the shipbuilding cost. A natural gas-powered ship costs 20% more than a heavy oil-powered ship, and it is supposed to cost more than 10 billion yen to build an ocean liner with a load capacity of more than 200,000 tons. The Japanese government will issue a draft report on safety criteria using the technological research results and submit it to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) with a view to effecting the amendments of the relevant treaties by 2016. IMO wishes to reduce emissions from newly built ships by 30% by 2025.
An ocean liner owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines