SHI suspends construction of blocks for Zvezda’s Arctic LNG carriers
South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) has ceased the production of blocks and equipment for 10 out of the 15 Arctic LNG carriers contracted with Zvezda, Reuters reported.
While Samsung has been delivering these components for five of the vessels to Zvezda, following approval from the South Korean government, the company is now approaching the completion of manufacturing for these particular ships, as confirmed by a Samsung spokesperson.
As for the remaining 10 ships, Samsung has halted the production of blocks and equipment. However, it’s important to note that as of now, there has been no formal cancellation of the contract, as stated by the Samsung spokesperson.
The two parties established collaboration back in 2019 focusing on the design and construction of ice-breaking LNG carriers for the Arctic-2 plant, valued at $21 billion. The South Korean builder, renowned for its expertise in shipbuilding, has secured a contract to assist Zvezda in designing these specialized carriers that are crucial for navigating the challenging Arctic environment.
The two parties also entered into an agreement to establish a joint venture for the construction of shuttle tankers within Russia.
The latest move follows sanctions imposed by the Western powers against Russia over its role in the aggression against Ukraine.
In the aftermath of economic sanctions imposed in 2022, Hanwha Ocean, formerly known as DSME, decided to terminate a contract with Sovcomflot for three ships, citing non-payment as the primary reason and subsequently ceasing construction. The French firm GTT, essential for finalizing the gas membranes within the carriers, also withdrew its involvement from the project.
Further compounding the challenges, European marine engine manufacturers MAN and Wärtsilä opted to discontinue supplying their products, such as Azipod thrusters, to Russian entities, which includes the Zvezda shipyards. This series of actions reflects the broader impact of economic sanctions on collaborative projects within the maritime industry.
Meanwhile, Zvezda is continuing its efforts to build its LNG carrier fleet. In August 2023, the company launched the third ice-class ARC7 LNG carrier for the Arctic LNG 2 project.
The vessel was named Sergei Witte and has a capacity of 172,600 m3. It is the third unit in a series of fifteen LNG carriers ordered by Sovcomflot and being built to serve Novatek’s Arctic LNG 2 project.
The first two ships were launched earlier and are undergoing fitting work.