Monday, April 29, 2024

Norwegian Prima - you decide

The immense cruise ship Norwegian Prima spent the day, April 29, in Halifax en route from New York to Europe.


The ship was built by Fincantieri, Marghera and entered service in 2022. At 143,535 gt, it has a passenger capacity variously reported as 3,099 and up to 3,215 with a crew of 1,506. Passenger accommodation is spread over 16 of the ship's total of 20 decks.

The ship is the first of six Prima class vessels, although subsequent ships will be longer and wider with the final two about 20% larger than this one. (Fortunately you can't get 20% uglier).

From Halifax the ship has planned calls in Reykjavik, Amsterdam, Zeebrugge and LeHavre, arriving in Southampton May 12.

Although very large, the ship does not operate at a very deep draft (8.4 meters / 27'-7" on sailing) so it was able to exit using the main channel, giving over the deep water western channel to the inbound ONE Wren which was reporting 15 meters / 49'-2 1/2" draft. Interestingly the 14,056 TEU ONE Wren has a gross tonnage of 146,409, but like the proverbial iceberg, much of it is underwater.


Saturday, April 27, 2024

Marine Atlantic

 With news that the newest ship in the Marine Atlantic fleet has arrived in North Sydney, at least one of the long ago former ferries is en route to the scrap yard.

The new ship the Ala'Suini arrived in North Sydney April 20 fresh from the builders, CMJL, Weihai Shandong via Cape Town March 21-22 and Las Palmas April 7-13. The ship replaces the chartered  Atlantic Vision on the North Sydney - Argentia route (seasonally) and will work the North Sydney - Port-aux-Basques route as needed in winter. Atlantic Vision sailed from North Sydney, April 4 and arrived in Lindoe, Denmark April 17 where it will be reconditioned.

A former Marine Atlantic ship that served from 1975 to 1986 has been sold for scrap in Europe. Built by Rickmers, Bremerhaven in 1975, it was launched under the name Stena Atlantica but delivered as Marine Atlantica to Canadian investors for charter through Roylease, to CN Marine (predecessor to Marine Atlantic). 

 It operated year round on the North Sydney-Port aux Basques run as a passenger / car / truck ferry.

In 1986 the charter was terminated and as Marine Atlantic was formed as a crown coporation, the ship was old to Italian owners. It was renamed Corsica Vera in 1986, but was again renamed in 1987 as Sardinia Vera. In 1995 its gross tonnage was revised from  5441 gt to 12,107 gt. This was likely due to its car deck re-designated as a watertight deck under new regulations. Also sponsons were added to the hull, but above the water line. These would not be large enough to account for the entire tonnage increase, but may be related to buoyancy requirements.

It has now been reported sailing from Vado Liguri, April 26 and is due in Aliaga, Turkey May 2 where it will be scrapped.

Sister ship Marine Nautica, with a similar history, is also reported sold for scrap - details to follow in another post.


Cruise, Cruise, Cruise and More

 Although it is still early in the season, there were three cruise ships in the Port of Halifax today, April 27: Viking Polaris, Volendam and Norwegian Pearl.

Viking Polaris was back for its second visit. After its first visit April 10 it has covered a lot of territory:  Trois-Rivières April 25, Montreal 16, Toronto 17-18, Montreal 20, Trois-Rivières 21, Quebec City 21, Port Alfred 22, Sept-Iles 23, and Charlottetown 25. It is now off to New York City and will not be back again until August 17.

The 30,114 gt ship, built in 2022 by Fincantieri carries 378 passengers and 256 crew. It sister ship Viking Octantis was here April 18 [qv] en route to a summer's cruising on the Great Lakes.

While in port, the ship discharged some refuse to a barge and exercised its Zodiacs. The workboat / landing craft Tidal Runner was doing tug duty with the barge.



A ship that will become a familiar sight in Halifax this year made its first ever call in Halifax today. Volendam, built in 1999 by Fincantieri, Marghera is a member of the Rotterdam class, measuring 60,906 gt with a capacity of 1432 passengers and 647 crew. It replaces sister ship Zaandam which had been calling in Halifax since 2019. The two ships have exchanged routes with Zaandam now doing Alaska tours.

Volendam will take up the east coast run out Boston to Portland, Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown, Magdalen Islands, Quebec City, Montreal. The latter is a terminal port also. From there, with a new contingent of passengers the ship retraces its way back to Boston via the same ports including Halifax. In all it will make 20 calls in Halifax between now and October 15 when it will make a Mediterranean round trip from and to Fort Lauderdale, its winter base.

Norwegian Pearl was today's first arrival but I did not catch a glimpse of it until it was outbound and then as it was "going away."

 A 2006 product of Meyer Werft, Papenburg, it is a 93,350 gt ship carrying 2,394 passengers and 1,099 crew. (It was refurbed in 2017). Unusual for a cruise ship, it is eastbound transatlantic, sailing from New York April 25. After Halifax it is scheduled to stop in Reykjavik, Belfast, Cobh-Cork, Isle of Portland (Weymouth), Le Havre and finally Southampton May 9.

It was interesting to see how much smoke the two older ships made as they picked up speed outbound.  I don't know if either ship used shore power when they were in Halifax, but I hope they weren't making that much particulate when in port.

And More 

There was other activity in the port today too:

At Autoport the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean auto carrier Tijuca arrived from Southampton and sailed for New York.

Dewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co Ltd built the ship in 2008 at Okpo. A 71,673 gt, 30,089 dwt ship, it can carry 7620 RT43 cars and is equipped with a 320 tonne capacity stern ramp and a small side ramp. It has the usual rounded superstructure forward, but its bridge structure is elevated three decks above the weather deck, which is at least one deck, if not two decks, higher than most autocarriers. While this must improve forward visibility, it is not a feature taken up on newer ships.

Both container terminals were working today. At the South End Container Terminal it was EM Kea on the Maersk / CMA CGM St.Lawrence route from Montreal for Bremerhaven.

 At Fairview Cove it was an 0900 hrs departure for the overnight caller Delphinus C, the former NYK Delphinus. A Dedalus class ship of 55,487 gt, 65,950 dwt, it has a capacity of 4922 TEU. 

One of several sister ships on THE Alliance's AL5 service it arrived yesterday afternoon from Saint John, NB after its usual string of calls from Port Everglades, Panama, Los Angeles, Oakland and back to Panama, Cartagena and Saint John.


The tug Atlantic Bear worked the ship all the way through the Narrows as stern tethered escort, ready to pull or brake if needed


Thursday, April 25, 2024

Grand and Great

 Ships' names can be an interesting topic for speculation, particularly as to what is behind certain names.

This morning, April 25, the tanker Great Thita arrived from Antwerp for Imperial Oil. 

 "Thita" seems to be an alternative spelling for "Theta" the eighth letter in the Greek alphabet, but that is about as far as I can go. The ship is owned by a single ship company of the same name, and managed by TB Marine Management of Hamburg, operator of forty plus tankers, bulkers and container ships.

The ship's blue hull colour was not apparent when it arrived, due to backlighting, but its figure 8 design on the funnel was visible. That may be tied to the placement of "theta" in the alphabet. The funnel also appears to be large enough to accommodate an exhaust gas scrubber system.

 The Great Thita was built by New Times Shipbuilding Co in Jingjiang, China in 2020. It is a 30,237 gt, 49,276 dwt MidRange 2 type chemical/product tanker.

A mid-morning arrival was the auto carrier Grand Sapphire from Southampton on the Wallenius Wilhelmsen North Atlantic service.

The ship made its way inbound to Bedford Basin, where it turned and proceeded to Pier 9C, starboard side to the dock.

The ship was built in 2007 by Toyohashi Shipbuilding in Japan and measures 52,197 gt, 18,099 dwt and has a capacity of 6400 CEU.

Owner is listed as Dynamic Attractive Shipping SA, with management by Cido Shipping Korea Co Ltd. Cido is Hong Kong based with offices in Tokyo and Busan and has 65 ships under management. Another autocarrier company, Grimaldi uses the "Grande" prefix in its ship's names, but the two companies are unrelated.

After unloading RoRo cargo at Pier 9C the ship moved to Autoport to unload cars.


Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Orion - big crane in demand

 The crane ship Orion, a familiar caller in Halifax last year, made a "non-working" visit today.

Its 5,000 tonne capacity main crane dominates the skyline, even when the boom is secured in the down position. 

When the ship was here last year it loaded monopiles then installed them at the Vineyard Wind project off Massachusets. The ship then returned to Vlissingen, Netherlands where it made preparations for another monopile installation project off Scotland. Working out of Invergordon, it installed twenty-nine monopiles, each weighing 2,000 tonnes over a two month period on the Moray West project.

Its arrival in Halifax early this morning was for a crew change, which was accomplished in an hour or so, with boat(s) from Dominion Diving.  The ship did not anchor, but used its Dynamic Positioning system, to remain motionless. On completion of the transfer, the ship spun round on its own axis and headed for sea.

The ship is destined for Norfolk, VA where it will work to install 176 foundations for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project for Dominion Energy. (Installation work for the Vineyard project is now being done by the ship Sea Installer working out of Sydney, NS.)

The Orion was built in 2019 by COSCO Qidong, China. It is a 58,203 gt, 60,575 dwt ship with a payload capacityof 30,000 tonnes. In addition to the 5,000 tonne capacity crane it also carries a 1,500 tonne capacity auxiliary crane. It has an accommodation capacity for 160 persons, expandable to 239 persons.


Tuesday, April 23, 2024


 Normally I avoid "going away" photos - particularly if I have decent photos of the ships already. However today, April 23, was a day for departures as far as my camera was concerned, and as there was something noteworthy about the ships, I clicked away. 

First off was the tanker CB Pacific which made a very brief call at Irving Oil's Woodside terminal. It arrived in the evening of April 22 and sailed at noon today, the 23rd, after a stay of just over twelve hours, giving the destination of Montreal.

 It was an unusually short stay in port, and as the ship sailed it appeared to be lightly loaded.

The ship was here previously March 21 to 22 unloading at Irving Oil, then went to anchor until March 25. I noted the ship has a "turtle back" over the fore deck, an unusual feature for a tanker. Since that visit the ship has been to Boston, New Haven, Albany and New York.

When the ship was here in March, its covered covered fore deck was noted.

Departing from Autoport the Wolfsburg is destined for Davisville, RI. This was the ship's second trip to Halifax since it was delivered in November 2023 by Guangzhou Shipyard International. The 69,470 gt, 19,203 dwt ship has capacity of 7,000 Car Equivalent Units on thirteen decks. Unusually for a newer auto carrier, it is fitted with a side ramp.

 On charter from SFL to Volkswagen it is a dual fuel ship, capable of burning LNG or conventional fuel. Unlike its sister ship Emden that was here last week, it did not emit plumes of black smoke. The ship arrived yesterday (April 22, photo below) from Volkswagen's export facility in Emden, Germany.

Also sailing today, April 23. from PSA Haifax Atlantic Hub, ONE Cygnus on THE Alliance's EC5 service, took two escort tugs, Atlantic Oak and Atlantic Bear.

ONE Cygnus was built by Japan Marine United in 2019 and is the last of the ten ships of the bird class. All but ONE Cygnus and ONE Wren were built with NYK prefixes, but they have now been renamed with "ONE", as they are all working for the Ocean Network Express, the joint venture of the principal Japanese container lines (NYK, K-Line and MOL). [As an aside it is interesting to note that there was already a "Swan" in the group - NYK Swan built in 2017 and renamed ONE Swan in 2020; cygnus being the Latinized Greek name for the swan: cygnus atratus.]

The 146,694 gt, 138,611 dwt ship is rated at 14,026 TEU. Its last port was Colombo, Sri Lanka, and it apparently sailed non-stop via the Cape of Good Hope.


Sunday, April 21, 2024

First Grain - Algoma Mariner

 The self-unloading bulk carrier Algoma Mariner arrived in Halifax April 19 with the first load of grain from the Lakehead this year. Starting from Montreal where it spent a brief maintenance period from March 13-30, the ship made its way up the St.Lawrence Seaway and arrived in Goderich April 3 presumably for a cargo of salt. It then proceeded to Thunder Bay where it offloaded then took on the grain load for Halifax.

On arrival in Halifax the ship tied up at Pier 26 where it discharged, using its own machinery, into the hopper connected by conveyors to the grain elevator.

On sailing today April 21 the ship gave a destination of Lower Cove, NL. There it will load limestone, an ingredient in steel making, and will return to the Great Lakes, likely to Hamilton, ON.

Atlantic Bear assists the Algoma Mariner off the dock April 21 and in the background the tanker Wicky Spirit (see yesterday's post) unloads at Imperial Oil.


Saturday, April 20, 2024

Wicky Spirit - next in line

 A first time tanker caller in Halifax anchored in the lower harbour today to wait its turn at Imperial Oil. The Wicky Spirit is a member of the McKeil Tankers Ltd fleet that usually serves the Great Lakes and St.Lawrence region.


Better known for its tugs and barges, McKeil Marine has expanded into dry cargo and tankers in recent years. The company, based in Burlington, ON was founded by a Nova Scotian, Evans McKeil, and passed to his son Blair McKeil. In 2016, the venture capital firm TorQuest Partners made a major investment in the company allowing it to broaden its interests. In November 2023 the Greenwich, CT based Astatine Investment Partners added McKeil Marine to its portfolio with the intention of making further expansion.

The Wicky Spirit is a 8,660 gt, 13,947 dwt chemical /product tanker built in 2008 by Gisan Gemi in Istanbul. An ABS Ice Class 1A twin screw ship it can carry clean or dirty product and carries its own nitrogen generator for inerting, and deck mounted tanks for tank washing slops. It was built under the name Turqoise-T and was renamed Turquoise I  for a time in 2019 before it was sold to McKeil and renamed.

    The Wicky Spirit is named for Robert Wickens an NTT Indycar racer sponsored by Petro-Canada Lubricants. McKeil has a sister ship named Hinch Spirit (ex Topaz-I, ex Topaz-T) , named for another NTT Indycar racer, James Hinchcliffe. McKeil Tankers carries Petro-Canada product and thus promotes its relationship with Petro-Canada.

The Wicky Spirit was in Europe from October 2023 to March 2024 at the Gryfia Shipyard in Szczecin, Poland and on return to Canada loaded in Nanticoke, ON and Sarnia, ON then headed for Halifax.




Friday, April 19, 2024

Friday exodus

 Ships like to sail on Fridays, in part to avoid  possible overtime charges or weekend rates, but also because many cargo terminals operate Monday to Friday at the land gate, with no truck arrvials and departures processed on the weekends. 

It is therefore not unusual to see several ships sailing from Halifax on a Friday afternoon, but today (April 19) was still notable notable due to the number leaving in quick succession.

When I got to my favourite vantage point at Point Pleasant Patk shortly after 1800 hrs ADT, the Atlantic SaiI was out of sight, but I did just manage to catch the EF Ava well off in the distance, having left PSA Halifax's South End Container Terminal (SECT) about 20 minutes before.

EF Ava 18:26 hrs ADT

It is headed for Reykjavik on Eimskip's weekly Green Line service to / from Portland, ME.

At the same time the NYK Rigel was passing my position outbound on The Alliance's AL5 route to Port Everglades.

NYK Rigel 18:26 hrs ADT

No sooner had the NYK Rigel passed than the MSC Sines R got underway from the SECT for Sines, Portugal on the CANEX2 service from Montreal. The ship was here March 15 westbound en route to Montreal.


MSC Sines R 18:29 hrs ADT

In a break from commercial activity the next outbound was the CCGS Jean Goodwill on SAR patrol east.

CCGS Jean Goodwill 18:39 hrs ADT

Next along was the auto carrier Morning Lynn from Autoport en route to New York. It was following the usual Wallenius Wilhelmsen transatlantic port rotation of Bremerhaven, Goteborg, Zeebrugge, Southampton, Halifax.

 Morning Lynn 18:45 hrs ADT.
The ship was built in 2009 by Hyundai Samho Heavy Industry Co Ltd and is registered at 68,701 gt, 28,092 dwt with a capacity of 8,011 CEU. Eukor is the former car carrier divison of Hyundai Merchant Marine acquired by Wallenius Wilhelmsen to gain control of Korean auto exports (and fend off the Japanese car carriers). It is still a South Korean company, but is now jointly owned by Wallenius Wilhelmsen, American Roll-on-Roll-off Carriers (ARC) and United European Car Carriers.

The ship is also equipped with a larger than usual side ramp, mounted well aft. Newer ships have dispensed with side ramps as they are seldom used in most ports, and cannot be used in Autoport due to the narrow pier. 

Waiting patiently at Pier 42 for this parade to pass was the Silver Arctic the interim ship on TSMI's St-Pierre et Miquelon and Argentia, NL service. It was facing bow north, so had to turn off the dock before heading out to sea.

Silver Arctic 18:47 hrs ADT

The Silver Arctic is a six to eight week replacement while TMSI's CONRO ship the Nolhan Ava is on scheduled refit [see previous posts]. Despite having no RoRo capability, the Silver Arctic was carrying acouple of cargo vans which appear to be lashed to a 45 ft platform type container (with no walls or roof, but a heavy flat base.) It will require special sling arrangements to off-load, as a standard container spreader will not work.

Also sailing, but a little later in the evening, was Oceanex Sanderling after dark.


BBC Rhonetal sails

 After the laborious process of loading several hunded (maybe as many as one thousand) sections of gas pipe, the BBC Rhonetal sailed today, April 19, for Moerdijk, Netherlands.

The pipe, according to the markings I could see, was manufactured in Japan and coated in Canada. The shipment was then transported to Halifax on railroad flat cars, usually with eleven pipes per car, (There were a few pipes of different diameter and length.) It took a hundred or more cars to transport the shipment. As mentioned previously the pipes were loaded aboard ship one at a time or in small bundles of two or three, using the ship's own cranes. Apparently the cargo filled the holds and a dozen or so pipes were secured on deck.

The BBC Rhonetal arrived in Halifax March 29 from Port Cartier, QC where it had off-loaded some wind turbine components. It had been waiting off Port Cartier for a time as fleet mate BBC Topaz was off-loading first. When it arrived in Halifax, there was BBC Topaz was occupying the berth and it had to wait at anchor until April 7 before it could begin to load the pipe.

 BBC Rhonetal was built in 2013 by Taizhou Sanfu Ship Engineering Co and is a general purpose type ship with full width hatches and box shaped holds. The 14,941 gt, 17,577 dwt ship carries three 80 tonne SWL cranes that can be combined in pairs for 150 tonne lifts. It is also rated for 1047 TEU (nominal) with 152 reefer plugs.

There have been several posts on this blog over the past few weeks on both ships.



Thursday, April 18, 2024

This and That

 Halifax may now be noted as a container port (it exceeded 500,000 TEU again in 2023) but there are lots of other things happening in the port too, and today (April 18) was an example.

 The third cruise ship of the season arrived and it is another of the small "expedition" types. Viking Octantis is en route to a summer on the Great Lakes.

Built in 2021 it is a 30,114 gt ship with a capacity of 378 passengers in 189 staterooms. It is rated as a Polar 6 class and was designed specifically for Antarctic and Great Lakes cruising. Initial construction took place at the Tulcea, Romania yard of Vard (Fincantieri). The shell was then towed to the Søviknes Shipyard in Norway for finishing. After a day in Halifax the ship will head for Toronto, where it will be based until October 15.

 At Irving Oil's Woodside terminal their tanker Acadian was discharging product from the Saint John, NB refinery. It arrived last night and will be sailing late this afternoon.

The Canadian flag ship, is on long term charter from the Dutch Vroon (Iver Ships BV). Built in 2005 by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co Ltd in 2005, it is a 23,552 gt, 37,515 dwt product tanker. It operates from Saint John primarily to the Atlantic Canada ports of Halifax, Charlottetown and Saint John's NL, and occasionally to Montreal and Quebec City.

Arriving for its turn at the Irving Oil facility this morning was the tanker STI Hackney from Amsterdam.

Perhaps not surprisingly it is a product of the same prolific South Korean shipbuilder, Hyundai Mipo. Dating from 2014 it is a 24,230 gt, 38,734 dwt ship. Flying the Marshal Islands flag, it operates for Scorpio Tankers Inc.

Imperial Oil is also busy with the Algoberta in from Montreal with product and the Algoscotia waiting at Pier 27 25 to take its place to load for regional distribution.

Autoport is not be left out as another busy spot with imports arriving from two directions. The load of vans that arrived on April 15 on the Trica (see previous post) and were off loaded at PSA Fairview Cove are being transported to Autoport by truck (three or four at a time). My initial report of 200 vans has been revised to 350. That is a lot of truck trips!

Cars (and vans) arriving from overseas at Autoport are prepped including installation of some accessories and other equipment, and stored and shipped out by rail or truck on demand.

Today's arrival was a more conventional auto carrier, but with a twist. The ARC Honor is a United States flagged vessel reflagged and renamed February 2 in Incheon, Korea by American Roll On Roll Off Carriers (ARC).

Formerly the Tulane it was built in 2012 by Hyundai, Ulsan and is a 72,295 gt, 28,818 dwt LCTC (Large Car and Truck Carrier) with a capacity of 7,934 CEU. It was operated by Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean, and has now been transferred to the United States subsidiary (but not yet re-painted in ARC colours). As a US flag ship it has preference for carrying government cargoes internationally. But as a non-Jones Act ship it cannot trade between US ports.

The ship has been in Halifax many times, and initially called wearing the old Wilhelmsen hull colour scheme.



Wednesday, April 17, 2024

USCG Sentinel class

 The United States Coast Guard is well along in the program to build a large number of Fast Response Cutters (FRC) called the Sentinel class. There are sixty-six vessels planned with fifty-four now completed and fifty-three in service (according to latest info). The 353 light ton displacement boats are based on a Damen 4708 design (nominally 47 meters long x 8 meters wide) but with modifications to suit USCG requirements.  These include an increase in speed from 23 knots to 28 knots, and the choice of armaments. (Damen is a large Netherlands based builder of tugs and other smaller craft, and licenses its designs to other builders around the world.)

The fiftieth member of the Sentinel class, USCGC William Chadwick WPC 1150, arrived in Halifax today, April 17, and tied up at the Tall Ships Quay. 


There are obvious similarities to the Canadian Coast Guard's Hero class patrol vessels, which are also based on a Damen design but of a smaller version, the 4207  class (42 meters by 7 meters). There have been complaints about the sea-keeping capability of the Canadian boats in rough weather, but the USCG boats seem to perform better. 

Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport LA is the builder of the Sentinels and delivered this one on August 4, 2022. It was commissioned November 10, 2022 and is based in Boston, although it arrived today from Portland, ME.

As the boat approached the dock it had fenders rigged on the port side, but just as it began to swing about to come alongside the crew hastily moved the fenders to the starboard side, foiling my attempt to get a "clean" photo.

 In another similarity with the Canadian Coast Guard boats, the US boats are named for heroes, but in their case, of the USCG or previous agencies such as the Life-Saving Service (which was merged into the USCG in 1915.). This cutter is named for William Chadwick, keeper of the Green Island Lifeboat Station in New Jersey. He received the Congressional Gold Lifesaving Medal for the rescue of the crew of the schooner George Taulane in 1880.

[For more on the man William Chadwick, see  the artice in this link: Maritime Executive or at:


Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Thank you Volkswagen

 As part of its efforts to establish green credentials Volkswagen AG has added new generation autocarriers to its fleet of chartered vessels. The first two of the series have already visited Halifax, the Emden and the Wolfsburg, named, respectively, for the locations of VW's primary export facility and its major manufacturing centre.

Today's (April 16) return visit was from the Emden, a 69,470 gt, 19,243 dwt Pure Car and Truck Carrier (PCTC) delivered late last year by Guangzhou Shipyard International. The 7,000 CEU capacity vessel is powered by a MAN ME-GI dual fuel main engine. (MAN, formerly Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg is a VW company).

On sailing this evening for Davisville, RI, the ship exhibited a "Powered by LNG" slogan along with owner SFL Corporation's logo. (Publicly traded SFL is a creature of shipping magnate John Frederiksen along with Frontline Tankers, Golden Ocean, MOWI and other shipping and petroleum related interests.) 

The banner did not state that it is dual fuel - burning LNG only some of the time, and regular fuel oil the rest of the time.

Once the ship had rounded Ives Knoll outbound, it exhibited its true colours. Perhaps the alternative fuel to LNG is really coal?

Clearly the ship has a faulty exhaust gas scrubber system if it is emitting that amount of particulate. Exhasut gas scrubbers are supposed to clean the ship's exhaust by removing SO2, NO2 and particles, thus allowing the ship to use higher sulfur fuel, which is otherwise banned from use by international treaty. (Scrubbers aren't necessarily the answer either as some systems flush pollutants into the sea.) 

Volkswagen's reputation is not helped by this kind of display either. It is interesting to note however that Volkswagen's name does not appear anywhere on the ship.

The use of LNG - which is still a fossil fuel, no matter what the hype - can only be considered as a stop gap until cleaner and less polluting fuels such as hydrogen become viable. So bragging about the use of LNG seems a bit perverse, especially when it isn't used all the time.