Photo: Image courtesy of Damen

Damen starts work on French dredger LNG conversion

Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque started work on converting the trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD) Samuel de Champlain from diesel-electric propulsion to dual-fuel capability combining MGO and LNG. 

A first steel cutting ceremony for the prefabrication of a new section of the hull that will hold the new generators and other equipment was held at the yard.

The Samuel de Champlain is the first such conversion to be done by the yard, Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque said in a statement on Monday.

Under the contract, Damen is delivering a turnkey package that includes engineering, procurement and support.

Engineering studies are being subcontracted to LMG Marin France, DSDu said.

The current propulsion system of the Samuel de Champlain is diesel-electric burning marine gas oil (MGO), so the package includes the change of generators to dual-fuel models and the installation of onboard LNG storage facilities.

The new engines will be installed on a new block which is currently being prefabricated in DSDu’s workshop and this will be installed later this year while the vessel is in drydock.

Samuel de Champlain was built in 2002 and is the largest vessel in the GIE Dragages-Ports fleet. Based in the Grand Maritime Port of Nantes-Saint-Nazaire, the vessel divides its time between the Loire and Seine estuaries.

The conversion is part of an EU-supported initiative to promote LNG propulsion in short-sea vessels operating along the European Atlantic coast and is being supported by the European Commission’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) via its Connecting Europe Facility programme.

Samuel de Champlain is expected to be operational by December 2018.

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