March 16, 2012: The 1,000-foot Mesabi Miner departs out of the Duluth, Minn., ship canal.

Clint Austin, Associated Press

Lakes ship to run on LNG or low-sulfur diesel

  • Associated Press
  • October 8, 2013 - 7:06 PM

DULUTH, Minn. — The Mesabi Miner freighter is lined up to become the first dual-fuel ship on the Great Lakes able to run on either liquefied natural gas or ultra-low-sulfur diesel.

Shipping officials tell the Duluth News Tribune ( ) it's the wave of the future to meet emissions standards.

"This is a very exciting beginning," said James Sharrow, Duluth Seaway Port Authority facilities manager. He said meeting emissions standards will require the use of costly ultra-low-sulfur diesel or cheaper and even cleaner natural gas.

The Mesabi Miner is slated to be Interlake Steamship Company's first ship to make the switch as it converts its fleet from engines that burn heavy fuel oil to engines that can run on liquefied natural gas.

Interlake had hoped to convert its first ship by spring 2015 but has pushed that back at least a year. It's talking to shipyards around the Great Lakes about replacing the freighter's engines, President Mark Barker said. He declined to say how much the conversion might cost.

Four large tanks to store supercooled LNG will be mounted vertically on the ship's stern, giving it a distinctive profile.

The Mesabi Miner visited the Twin Ports about 40 times during the 2012-13 shipping season.

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