Shell Claims First Ship-to-Ship LNG Bunkering in Rotterdam

Shell’s LNG bunkering vessel Cardissa refuels the SCF tanker Gagarin Prospect in the Port of Rotterdam. Photo: Shell

A unit of Royal Dutch Shell has completed the first ship-to-ship LNG bunkering to take place at the Port of Rotterdam using the new specialized LNG bunker vessel, Cardissa.

The operation took place in the Port of Rotterdam when the Cardissa re-fueled Sovcomflot tanker Gagarin Prospect, which also happens to be the world’s first LNG-powered Aframax tanker.

The fuelling of the Gagarin Prospect is first operation under the LNG fuel supply agreement between Shell and Sovcomflot signed in 2017.

The Shell Shipping & Maritime-managed Cardissa can hold around 6,500 cubic meters of LNG fuel. Ordered in 2015, the vessel was built by STX Offshore & Shipbuilding and features an LNG transfer system and sub cooler unit making it capable of loading from big or small terminals, serving a wide variety of vessels, including containerships, ferries and coastal vessels. Its unique seagoing capability also allows it to serve customers with LNG fuel in locations throughout Europe.

Grahaeme Henderson, Vice President, Shell Shipping and Maritime, said: “This exciting first for the Cardissa is a tangible example of Shell driving LNG as a cleaner burning and viable fuel for the shipping industry. It is highly appropriate that we celebrate this first with Sovcomflot and their first LNG powered tanker, which we also happen to charter.”

The 114,000-dwt Gagarin Prospect entered into a Shell multi-year time charter in July 2018. Its sistership, Samuel Prospect, is scheduled for delivery into Shell time charter next year.

The bunkering operation was the product of Memorandum of Understanding signed Shell and SCF Group in September 2015 to develop LNG bunkering for large-capacity tankers.

“Together with Shell, SCF Group shares a determination to reduce the environmental impact of energy shipping,” said Sergey Frank, President & CEO of Sovcomflot. “This was the genesis of our ‘Green Funnel’ project, and since April 2015 we have been working very closely with Shell on every aspect of it to bring the project to successful fruition. The first tangible result was the introduction into service of the world’s first Aframax tanker to use LNG as her primary fuel – Gagarin Prospect. Her arrival and inaugural LNG bunkering, by Shell’s tanker Cardissa heralds a new age of more sustainable and environmentally responsible shipping – especially in the high traffic areas of the Baltic and North Seas, where this new class of ‘Green Aframaxes’ will operate.”

The ship-to-ship LNG bunkering operation is also expected to pave the way for more to take place in the future in the Port of Rotterdam.

In the future, Shell will also utilize the Cardissa supply LNG to the world’s first LNG-powered cruise ships under an agreement with Carnival Corporation. When completed in 2019, the two vessels will be the world’s largest passenger cruise ships and will enter service in northwest Europe and the Mediterranean.

Allard Castelein, CEO Port of Rotterdam, said: “The Port of Rotterdam Authority highly values and actively supports a more sustainable transport sector. As a result of cooperation with many parties like Shell and Sovcomflot we are leading the way in this transition. Compared to other fuels, LNG offers significant benefits to local air quality and contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gasses. We welcome the Gagarin Prospect and her sister vessels to our port and look forward to many more secure and efficient LNG bunker operations.”