A large-capacity Aframax tanker owned by Russia’s SCF Group has performed its first ship-to-ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering at the country’s Port of Primorsk.

Known as Gagarin Prospect, the tanker has been specially designed to operate using LNG as its primary fuel, which is expected to eliminate the emission of sulphur oxides (SOx), as well as reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide emissions by 76% and 27% respectively.

This has enabled the use of LNG in large-capacity ships not tied to fixed routes or set timetables.

“The project brought together the leading world companies of designers, manufacturers of equipment and marine engineering, shipowners and classification societies.”

It has offered an alternative to liquid petroleum, thereby enabling the operators to comply with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) MARPOL requirements regarding control of NOx and SOx emissions from ships.

Classed by Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS), Gagarin Prospect is operated by Sovkomflot.

Russian Maritime Register of Shipping director general Konstantin Palnikov said: “The use of LNG as fuel for large-capacity tankers has become a real technological breakthrough. When constructing a state-of-the-art tanker, the most recent advances in science and technology were used.

“A number of non-standard engineering solutions have been specially developed for this series of ships. The project brought together the leading world companies of designers, manufacturers of equipment and marine engineering, shipowners and classification societies.

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“The work performed and the successful commencement of ‘Gagarin Prospect’ tanker operation set new standards for the environmental safety of commercial shipping.”

With each having a capacity of 114,000dwt, 11 crude oil tankers will be built to the RS class for different customers at Zvezda shipbuilding complex in Russia and Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries shipyard in Mokpo, South Korea.