Sovcomflot’s Aframax completes NSR transit on LNG - attends NSR working meeting

Sep 06 2019

On 2nd September, 2019 at 08:20 Moscow time, Sovcomflot’s (SCF) LNG powered Aframax ‘Korolev Prospect’ completed a commercial voyage along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) (see ‘Tanker Operator News’ 30th August).

For the first time, a large-capacity oil tanker has transited the full length of the NSR using only LNG as fuel.

The voyage from Cape Zhelaniya to Cape Dezhnev took seven days and six hours to complete, during which time, the tanker covered a distance of 2,118 nautical miles at an average speed of 12.2 knots.

“Both the ice conditions and weather we encountered during the voyage were quite favourable, which allowed the vessel to travel the full length of the route independently, without icebreaker assistance. A well-prepared passage plan allowed us to avoid meeting massive icebergs in the Vilkitski Strait and then we avoided ice concentrated in the Long Strait by taking a new route to the north of Wrangel Island.

“I believe that this new route, together with the ‘Tikhonov Route’, opened by SCF in 2011, will come in useful for planning the eastbound commercials voyages of LNG carriers along the NSR,” said the Aframaxes Master, Oleg Shishkin.

At the time of the transit, the vessel was on a commercial voyage from Murmansk to China, carrying a cargo of crude oil.

In 2018, Sovcomflot pioneered the adoption of LNG as a primary fuel for large-capacity oil tankers. Today, the company has six LNG-fuelled crude oil tankers in operation. The data accumulated from operating these tankers shows that using LNG as a primary fuel achieves a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions, compared with similar vessels powered by traditional heavy fuel.

‘Korolev Prospect’ is the fourth in the ‘Green Funnel’ series of tankers and was delivered in February, 2019. She has an Ice Class of 1A hull. 

Meanwhile, on 4th September, 2019, the first working meeting of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) Public Council was held in Vladivostok at the Fifth Eastern Economic Forum.

The meeting was attended by: the ?EO of Rosatom, Aleksey Likhachev; SCF President and CEO, Sergey Frank; Governor of the Yamalo-Nenetsky autonomous region, Dmitry Artyukhov; Deputy Minister of Transport of Russia - Head of the Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport, Yury Tsvetkov; the Special envoy for International Co-operation in the Arctic of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Nikolai Korchunov; Deputy Director General of Rosatom and Director of NSR Directorate, Vyacheslav Ruksha, President at United Shipbuilding Corp, Aleksey Rakhmanov; Total Country Chair Russia, Arnaud le Fall; Stena Bulk managing director, Mats Karlsson; Aker Arctic Technology managing director, Reko-Antti Suojanen; Tschudi Shipping Co Chairman, Felix Tschudi, plus others.

"Under the auspices of the federal ‘Northern Sea Route’ project we have made the necessary arrangements to reach a target annual traffic of 80 mill tonnes along the NSR by 2024. This requires the development of infrastructure, including the Arctic icebreaker fleet, satellite communications, accident prevention measures, port fleet and digital services for shipping. We will be able to meet these challenges together, only with the involvement of all the Council participants: charterers; shipping companies; scientific and project organisations; business representatives and the authorities,” said Likhachev addressing the meeting.

Frank said:“Maritime transportation along the NSR has to be carried out in full compliance with the highest safety and quality standards, with the focus on the environment. In 2018, freight traffic along the NSR almost doubled to 19.7 mill tonnes, in comparison with 2017. There is no doubt that the significant growth in NSR traffic pushes the human element to the fore, where the quality of marine specialists will be crucial to ensure safe shipping. In this light, the arrangement of the Public Council, within the walls of one of the oldest maritime universities in Russia – Nevelskoy State Maritime University – is especially symbolic.”

The inaugural meeting of the Council was held in June, 2019, in St Petersburg. The Council includes representatives from resource and shipping companies, scientific and design organisations, the insurance industry, marine registers, and government bodies.


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