Two large-capacity Sovcomflot tankers using cleaner-burning LNG as a primary fuel, Mendeleev Prospect and Lomonosov Prospect, have completed voyages eastbound along the Northern Sea Route (NSR).
Lomonosov Prospect reached Cape Dezhnev, the easternmost end of the NSR, on October 16, 2019, while Mendeleev Prospect arrived at the same destination three days later, on October 19. Both vessels, bound for China with a cargo of crude oil from the Port of Primorsk, have crossed the full length of the NSR using only cleaner-burning fuel, according to SCF.
The units completed their respective voyages from Cape Zhelaniya to Cape Dezhnev in just over 7 days, covering the distance of more than 2,000 nautical miles. With favourable ice conditions along the entire route and precise route planning, both vessels travelled 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. Using LNG fuel allows for a significant reduction of the tanker’s emission footprint, which is critical given the fragility of the Arctic ecosystem,” Igor Tonkovidov, CEO of Sovcomflot, said.
“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. The tanker fuel system and other components have proved to be highly reliable,” Mark Lyudnik, the Master of Mendeleev Prospect, added.
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, testing the operation of the ship engines and controls of the fuel systems using LNG during the voyage. In 2019, three of Sovcomflot’s LNG-fuelled tankers crossed the NSR eastbound and one such tanker westbound.
The company currently has six LNG-fuelled oil tankers in operation, all delivered in 2018-2019.