SCF’s Aframax Wraps Up NSR Voyage Using Only LNG

Sovcomflot’s LNG-fueled Aframax crude oil tanker Korolev Prospect completed its commercial voyage along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) on September 2.

The company said that the voyage marked a milestone in the history of shipping, as this was the first time that a large-capacity oil tanker crossed the full length of the NSR using only cleaner-burning LNG fuel.

The route from Cape Zhelaniya to Cape Dezhnev took 7 days and 6 hours to complete, during which 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 favorable, which allowed the vessel to travel the full length of the route independently, without icebreaker assistance,” Oleg Shishkin, the tanker’s master, said.

He added that “a well-prepared passage plan” allowed the ship to avoid meeting massive icebergs in the Vilkitski Strait and 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,” Shishkin noted.

The 113,232-dwt vessel crossed the NSR as part of its commercial voyage from the port of Murmansk to China, carrying a cargo of crude oil.

In 2018, Sovcomflot started using 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 showed that using LNG as a primary fuel achieves a 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions compared with similar vessels powered by traditional heavy fuel, SCF explained.

The 250-meter-long Korolev Prospect, the fourth in the ‘Green Funnel’ series of tankers, was delivered to the company in February 2019.