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Yang Ming has been forced to deny local media reports that its choice of LNG fuel for new vessels had caused dissention among its directors.

On Friday, the Taiwanese carrier’s board approved the latest spending of $850m to $975m to build five 15,000 teu LNG-fuelled containerships, with Hyundai Heavy Industries and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding favoured to win the order.

Yesterday, citing market sources, local media claimed Yang Ming chairman Cheng Cheng-mount had faced opposition from non-executive directors Wang Chi-chun and Chen Chieh-fu, resulting in their resignations in September.

The reports suggested the removal of dissenters enabled the company to push through LNG-fuelled newbuilding orders.

However, Yang Ming’s management has issued a denial, claiming the report was pure media speculation. It said: “The independent directors resigned due to personal reasons and this was publicly announced.”

It added: “It’s not true to say that the newbuilding orders were approved by bypassing the board, with the advantage of fewer directors.”

With nine directors left after Mr Wang and Mr Chen resigned, Yang Ming’s newbuilding budget was endorsed by six directors, while three abstained.

Yang Ming’s directors had apparently given the newbuilding plan the green light in January 2022, but Taiwanese media claimed objections to Mr Cheng’s selection of LNG propulsion delayed the finalisation of the order.

Concerns over greenhouse gas emissions from LNG have pushed other mainline operators such as Maersk and Evergreen towards methanol. But Yang Ming said: “LNG is an alternative fuel with relatively stable supply. There’s no single alternative fuel that can achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and it’s the mainstream approach to adopt multiple fuels to diversify the supply risks.”

Yang Ming added that, as of this month, Alphaliner data shows that the ten largest liner operators have between them 106 LNG-dual-fuelled vessels (at least 14,000 teu) in service and under construction, while methanol dual-fuelled boxships number just 43, indicating that currently LNG is favoured.

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