Shell’s specialised LNG bunker vessel Cardissa has completed its first ship-to-ship bunkering of LNG fuel to Russian shipping company Sovcomflot’s (SCF Group) LNG-powered Aframax tanker Gagarin Prospect.

The operation witnessed many milestones as it was the first time LNG ship-to-ship bunkering operation was performed in the Port of Rotterdam. It also marks the first LNG bunkering of an Aframax tanker.

The fuelling of the Gagarin Prospect was the first bunkering operation under the LNG fuel supply agreement signed between Shell and Sovcomflot last year.

Shell intends to promote greater use of LNG as a cleaner burning fuel for the shipping industry.

Shell Shipping and Maritime vice-president Grahaeme Henderson 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.”

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Cardissa has a storage capacity of around 6,500 cubic metres of LNG fuel. Shell uses the vessel to provide LNG fuel to customers throughout Europe.

“Her arrival and inaugural LNG bunkering, by Shell’s tanker Cardissa heralds a new age of more sustainable and environmentally responsible shipping.”

Sovcomflot president and CEO Sergey Frank said: “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 114,000-dwt Gagarin Prospect entered a Shell multi-year time charter in July.

In September 2015, Shell signed a memorandum of understanding with SCF Group to develop Marine LNG fuelling for large-capacity tankers.

Shell will also supply LNG to the world’s first LNG-powered cruise ships under an agreement with Carnival Corporation and plc.