Europe’s First LNG Dual-Fuel Conversion Dredger Launched at Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque

Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque
Samuel de Champlain launched at Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque. Photo: Damen

Europe’s first conversion of a dredger to dual-fuel capability combining LNG and MGO is close to completion at Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque, the first conversion of its kind to take place in Europe.

Damen is ready to deliver a turnkey package that included engineering, procurement and support for the conversion of Dragages-Ports’ Samuel de Champlain 19 months after the contract was awarded.

The previous propulsion system of Samuel de Champlain was diesel-electric burning MGO. The contract included the change of generators to dual-fuel models and the installation of on board LNG storage facilities.

“The project was a complex one and not without its challenges,” Damen said in a press release. “A decision to change the engine manufacturer once the project was underway required a fresh approach to their integration, and the interfacing of all the main systems with the new propulsion plant plus the extensive pipe works required meticulous planning and careful execution.”

Following her final commissioning the Samuel de Champlain will return to her regular duties of dredging the Loire and Seine rivers.

“The Samuel de Champlain conversion has been the subject of much interest within the dredging industry and the maritime industry in general,” says Fabien Guillemot, Commercial Manager at Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque. “LNG isn’t new, of course, but this ground-breaking conversion of an existing vessel opens up new possibilities for everyone. With environmental regulations set to tighten ever further in the foreseeable future, the success of this project is evidence for owners of ships operating in coastal waters and emission control areas that there is an alternative to scrapping old vessels and building a new one.”

The conversion has been part of an EU-supported initiative to promote LNG propulsion in short-sea vessels operating along the European Atlantic coast.