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MPA pushes back on Singapore ammonia bunkering readiness

Photo: Marcus Hand Singapore viewed from Gardens by the Bay
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore has poured cold water on recent assertions that the port was ready to conduct ammonia bunkering trials this year.

MPA issued a statement to Seatrade Maritime News and other outlets in response to queries it received on ammonia bunkering after the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) released the results of its study into ammonia bunkering safety at Singapore.

The MPA response did not take issue with the outcome of the report, but pushed back on the idea that the port was now ready to conduct an ammonia transfer this year, and that the study’s findings paved the way for pilot projects to proceed.

“These views do not represent the assessment of MPA and other government agencies – the timeline before end-2023 is not realistic and should not prejudge the outcomes of [ an Expression of Interest to build, own and operate low or zero-carbon hydrogen and ammonia bunkering solutions issued in December 2022], as well as further assessments and standards development by MPA and the relevant agencies,” said MPA.

The 2023 timeline was set in a quote from Professor Lynn Loo, CEO of GCMD contained in a GCMD press release, which said: “We are aiming for the first transfer of ammonia to take place by end 2023, subject to obtaining the greenlight from the relevant regulatory agencies.”

MPA is a founder of GCMD, contributing around half of the initial funding for the centre, with the other half of the funds split between six other founding partners.

MPA stressed that it is committed to decarbonisation and exploring low emission fuels through tests, pilots and collaborations. “These efforts must, however, be accompanied by thorough validation of the studies, calibration of models to assess the impact of incidents (such as through dynamic near and far field modelling and validation of mitigation measures), and rigorous procedures to ensure the safety of the port, port community and ship crew,” it said.

The authority noted presentations during the recent Singapore Maritime Week on the safety of ammonia as a fuel, and the conclusions within those presentations that “more dispersion and release studies are needed to better understand the impact of a release under various environmental conditions and scenarios, and that available mitigation and response measures will require further work.”