In this study, two potential fuels, namely hydrogen and ammonia, are alternatively proposed to replace heavy fuel oils in the engines of sea transportation vehicles. A comparative life cycle assessments of different types of sea transportation vehicles are performed to investigate the impacts of fuel switching on the environment. The entire transport life cycle is considered in the life cycle analyses consisting of production of freight ship and tanker; operation of freight ship and tanker; construction and land use of port; operation, maintenance and disposal of port; production and transportation of these clean fuels. Various environmental impact categories, such as global warming, marine sediment ecotoxicity, marine aquatic ecotoxicity, acidification and ozone layer depletion are selected in order to examine the diverse effects of switching to clean fuels in maritime transportation. As a carbon-free fuel for marine vehicle engines, ammonia and hydrogen, yield considerably lower global warming impact during the operation. Furthermore, numerous production methods of alternative fuels are evaluated to comparatively show environmentally benign options. The results of this study demonstrate that if ammonia is even partially utilized in the engines of ocean tankers as dual fuel (with heavy fuel oils), overall life cycle greenhouse gas emissions per tonne-kilometer can be decreased about 27% whereas it can be decreased by about 40% when hydrogen is used as dual fuel. (C) 2017 Hydrogen Energy Publications LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.