The captains and officers of the world’s first LNG-powered cruise ship, AIDAnova, are getting first-hand experience in operating an LNG-powered vessel by sailing on WES Amelie, the world’s first boxship converted to LNG.

Namely, Carnival Maritime, the marine service unit of the Costa Group, which is parent to AIDA Cruises, entered into a cooperation deal with Wessels Reederei, owner of WES Amelie, on practical training series which started in June.

“The 30-day on-board training sessions on the WES Amelie enable AIDA’s captains and officers to experience at first hand what it is like to control a LNG-powered vessel under real operating conditions. A training record book is kept throughout to document the skills acquired; the participants also take part in a bunker procedure and an emergency drill. In addition, Carnival Maritime’s landside ship superintendents are completing training courses with Wessels,” Carnival Maritime said.

 Christian Hoepfner of Wessels Reederei, said that safe handling of LNG is a key aspect of the introduction of LNG as a maritime fuel.

“By contributing our expertise we hope to make the use of LNG more widespread, which will also help to further roll out LNG bunker infrastructure,” he added.

“The purpose of practical training is not just to build knowledge, but also to gain confidence in handling the technology and develop safety awareness when using LNG,” Caroline Baumgärtner, Director Maritime Training Carnival Maritime, noted.

AIDAnova, the world’s first cruise ship powered with LNG, was floated out from Meyer Werft’s building dock in Papenburg, Germany on August 21.

The 180,000-ton vessel is berthed at Meyer Werft’s outfitting pier where its mast and funnel cladding will be fitted.

In addition, further testing with LNG will be performed on the ship’s engines and acceptance procedures by the shipowners will also take place before the ship embarks on maiden voyage in December 2018.

 In the next five years, the Costa Group plans to commission five LNG cruise ships, and Carnival Maritime will be providing the relevant training courses for the crews.