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Urgent Service

Keel laying for LNG conversion passenger ferry ‘Münsterland’

18 May 2020
Keel laying for LNG conversion passenger ferry ‘Münsterland’

AG Ems and Royal Niestern Sander celebrated the official start of the section building for the LNG conversion of the passenger ferry Münsterland. Royal Niestern Sander will design and build a completely new aft ship for the passenger ship from 1986, including dual fuel engines, LNG storage tanks, propulsion systems, all LNG installations, pipelines and other systems.

This completely new stern will replace the existing stern of the Münsterland. Thanks to its expertise and facilities, the yard has a unique conversion method in mind that offers the possibility of reducing the idle time of an existing ship – and therefore the loss of income – to a minimum.


The project approach of Niestern Sander leans on the two pillars of the company, namely shipbuilding and ship repair. Due to the combination of shipbuilding and ship repair, the majority of the conversion operation takes place physically at the ship construction site, whereby the repair dock is not yet needed. The Münsterland can continue to operate as usual during this work.

Third LNG-Ferry for AG “EMS” group

In 2015 AG EMS started with two LNG-ferrys. MS Ostfriesland, a sister-ship of MV Münsterland, is in service from the german harbour Emden to waddensea island Borkum and MV Helgoland from Cuxhaven to the island Helgoland. MV Ostfriesland is the first ferry in Europe that was modified with the new LNG-technology while MV Helgoland is the first newly build ship of its class in Europe. AG EMS started as a first mover with LNG ship-technology and therefore gained a lot of experience.


Thanks to the LNG conversion, emissions will be reduced significantly. The new shape of the stern will also reduce the hull resistance. As a result, the ship needs less engine power to sail at the same speed, which means a reduction in fuel consumption and noise.

In addition to emission benefits, the LNG conversion also offers advantages in terms of material use. The existing ship dates from 1986 and is therefore more than thirty years old. In theory, the ship has therefore reached the end of its life cycle. Due to the conversion operation, many technical systems are being replaced and upgraded to the current state of the art. The ship will actually be as new again and will get a second life. This doubles the lifespan of most of the ship in practice and saves a lot of material. The old stern with old systems and installations is dismantled by Niestern Sander in a sustainable manner and recycled as much as possible.


With the m.v. Münsterland, Royal Niestern Sander has the opportunity to demonstrate the economic feasibility of an LNG conversion in practice thanks to its unique conversion method. It will also appear that the space limitation when converting an existing ship is soluble. AG Ems will put the Münsterland back into service between the Dutch Eemshaven to the German Wadden Sea island  Borkum in its new form in the ready to the start of summer-schedule at Easter 2021.


In July 2019, shipyard Royal Niestern Sander and AG Ems signed the agreement for the conversion of the passenger ship Münsterland and provide it with an LNG propulsion. The ship receives a contribution from the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union for this innovative project.