The Arctic port of Sabetta, Russia, has welcomed the world’s first icebreaking LNG carrier Christophe de Margerie on its maiden voyage along the Northern Sea Route, TASS news agency informs. The tanker was loaded with a test volume of liquefied natural gas in the port of Murmansk on 14 February and arrived at Sabetta on March 28 in the course of its sea trials in the Arctic waters.
The vessel was ordered by Sovcomflot (SCF), Russia’s largest shipping company focusing on transportation of oil and LNG, and built in 2017 at South Korean shipyard of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME). It was named after CEO of French oil corporation Total, who tragically died in an aircraft crash in Moscow in 2014.
According to SCF, Christophe de Margerie has gross tonnage (GRT) of 128,806 t., draught (loading) of 11.8m and capacity of 172,600 cubic meters of LNG. Its length overall (L.O.A.) is 299m and breadth is 50m.
But the most important is that the vessel holds ice class Arc7 (Russian Register), equivalent to an intermediate level between Polar Class 3 and Class 4 of Bureau Veritas rules. The tanker’s design will enable its year-round operation, proceeding through ice up to 2.1m thick without a dedicated icebreaker escort and working at temperatures of -52 degrees Celsius.
Christophe de Margerie will be employed in transportation of liquefied gas from Russia’s Yamal LNG project, which involves the development of the South Tambey Field resources, as well as construction of an LNG plant and the port of Sabetta, well above the Arctic Circle, of which we wrote earlier. Exporting LNG from Yamal along the Northern Sea Route calls for a type of LNG carrier never built before. Christophe de Margerie is the first of 15 identical vessels being built at the DSME yard for Yamal LNG project and is set to open up a new chapter in LNG shipping.