Sovcomflot tankers complete Northern Sea Route voyages burning only LNG

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Mendeleev Prospect on the Northern Sea Route (Photo: Sovcomflot)

Russia’s Sovcomflot reports that two of its 113,000 tankers, Mendeleev Prospect and Lomonosov Prospect, have successfully completed voyages eastbound along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) using LNG as their primary fuel..

Lomonosov Prospect reached Cape Dezhnev, the easternmost end of the NSR, at 05:50 Moscow time on October 16, 2019. Mendeleev Prospect did the same three days later, arriving at 13:00 Moscow time on October 19, 2019.

Both vessels, each bound for China with a cargo of crude oil from the Port of Primorsk, crossed the full length of the NSR using only LNG.

Lomonosov Prospect completed the voyage from Cape Zhelaniya to Cape Dezhnev in 7 days and 20 hours, covering the distance of 2,095 nautical miles at an average speed of 12 knots. Mendeleev Prospect completed the same voyage in 7 days and 5 hours, covering the distance of 2,104 nautical miles at an average speed of 12.3 knots. With favorable ice conditions along the entire route and precise route planning, both vessels traveled the entire length of the NSR without icebreaker escort.

“It is gratifying to emphasize that there is an ongoing demand for cargo transit along the Northern Sea Route during the period of summer navigation,” noted Igor Tonkovidov, CEO of Sovcomflot. “Using LNG fuel allows for a significant reduction of the tanker’s emission footprint, which is critical given the fragility of Arctic ecosystem.”

“The transit voyage from Cape Zhelaniya to Cape Dezhnev went smoothly. While in passage along the high-latitude route, the tanker ran exclusively on LNG,” said Mark Lyudnik, the Master of Mendeleev Prospect. “The tanker fuel system and other components have proved to be highly reliable. I would also like to highlight the exceptional training and skills of the crew. Special thanks to Sovcomflot onshore personnel who provided all the necessary navigation data and other information to the tanker crew and ensured its safe voyage while running on LNG

Sovcomflot is steadily introducing LNG as a fuel for large-capacity cargo shipping in the Arctic. In October 2018, Lomonosov Prospect crossed the NSR westbound, successfully testing the operation of the ship engines and controls of the fuel systems using LNG during the voyage. In 2019, Sovcomflot had three of his LNG-fueled tankers cross the NSR eastbound (Korolev Prospect in September 2019, Lomonosov Prospect and Mendeleev Prospect in October 2019), and one tanker westbound.

Currently, Sovcomflot has six LNG-fueled oil tankers in operation, all delivered in 2018-2019. The lead ship of the series is Gagarin Prospect. Each 113,000-dwt tanker is assigned an ice class of 1A/1B and has a length of 250 meters and a breadth of 44 meters

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