Today’s MOU signifies the multinational coalition’s solid commitment to build deep-sea cargo vessels capable of running on a zero-emission energy source.

Lloyd's Register, Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and MISC via its subsidiary, AET, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the development and construction of two very large crude carriers which can be operated on zero-emission fuel.

The three companies, all founding members of The Castor Initiative, are taking the lead to encourage the use of green ammonia as propulsion fuel, with the first of these dual-fuel tankers entering into service in late 2025 and the second in early 2026.

The Castor Initiative, a multinational coalition committed to make zero-emission in shipping a reality, includes MISC Berhad (MISC), Lloyd’s Register (LR), Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), MAN Energy Solutions (MAN), the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Yara International ASA (Yara) and Jurong Port (JP).

Following the inking of this MOU, The Castor Initiative members will focus on identifying green shipping corridors to facilitate the bunkering of these zero-emission Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs).

Motivated by the partners’ shared belief that the maritime industry needs leadership and greater collaboration if shipping is to meet the IMO’s GHG ambitions, The Castor Initiative members will also be looking into the establishment of approved training syllabus for seafarers in at least two maritime training institutions. It is crucial to ensure that the latest training and education is provided to the crew to enable the smooth operations of the zero-emission VLCCs.

Lloyd’s Register Group Chief Executive Nick Brown said: “In 2018, Lloyd’s Register made it clear that the IMO’s 2050 emission target would require deep-sea zero-emission vessels to be entering service before 2030, and that zero-emission operation would need to become the default for most deep-sea ships delivered after 2030. Since then, we’ve seen the IPCC report of 2021 issue ‘a code red for humanity, and many call for net-zero emissions by 2050. Today’s announcement fires the starting gun for deep-sea shipping to transition to a fuel which contains no carbon molecules, and Lloyd’s Register is delighted to be supporting this transition.”

SHI President and CEO J. T. Jung said: “We are very delighted to be a part of this inspiring, industry-leading collaboration paving the pathway to zero-emission shipping. The Castor Initiative members have already made impressive progress in making deep-sea zero-carbon vessels in the last few years, and we believe this new development of zero-carbon VLCCs will be accelerating the progress of The Castor Initiative and greatly help bring sooner energy transition in the shipping industry. As a shipbuilder trusted by our valued partners, SHI will strive to contribute to the realization of a sustainable shipping industry by putting our best efforts into this new collaboration.”

“The signing of today’s MOU is the beginning of many more forward moves that will come from The Castor Initiative, to accomplish our GHG ambitions jointly, ahead of 2050. The efforts of our collaboration have brought us to this historic moment where we will soon see the delivery of the world’s first two zero-emission VLCCs, which will be owned and operated by AET. Getting these vessels on water is not the only focus, there is the long game of ensuring the reskilling of talent and the availability of bunkering facilities which are key to the sustainable operations of these two new vessels. The MOU signed today would not be possible if not for the shared commitment, goals, and ambition we have, as The Castor Initiative. My appreciation to all members of The Castor Initiative for being part of this journey and I am confident that we will continue to make bold strides together, to unlock the possibilities that lay ahead,” said MISC President and Group CEO, Datuk Yee Yang Chien.

Brian Østergaard Sørensen, Vice President, Head of Research and Development, Two-Stroke, MAN Energy Solutions, said: “MAN Energy Solutions is very happy to work with a broad variety of industry partners and to share our particular expertise on this mutual path to decarbonisation. The Castor Initiative is a welcome opportunity to advance the case for green ammonia as a sustainable fuel for maritime shipping as we continue on the path to net-zero.”

“It is great to see the active collaboration within the Castor Initiative resulting in this MOU of three of our Castor Initiative Members jointly making the step to making ammonia as a fuel a reality. The development and construction of these two zero-emission VLCCs shows that ammonia as a fuel is becoming a reality, also in this ship segment”, said Murali Srinivasan, Sr. VP & Commercial Head, Yara Clean Ammonia.

Ms Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore said: “This MOU marks an important milestone in our decarbonisation journey. It is an important part of our efforts to support global efforts towards the future of shipping through a multi-fuel transition guided by the Maritime Singapore Decarbonisation Blueprint 2050. Partnerships are key and the global shipping community must continue to work closely together to achieve our decarbonisation goals.”

Jurong Port Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ooi Boon Hoe, said: “The signing of this MOU for the construction of two ammonia-fuelled very large crude carriers marks a significant milestone for deep-sea shipping’s adoption of zero- emission vessels. The shipping industry also needs the support of a robust logistics and supply chain solution ensuring the availability and delivery of ammonia as bunker. Jurong Port looks forward to exploring how we can contribute to the success of The Castor Initiative.”

Left to right: SHI President and CEO J. T. Jung, MISC President and Group CEO, Datuk Yee Yang Chien, Lloyd's Register Group CEO Nick Brown.