Russia-based shipping company Sovcomflot (SCF Group) has placed an order with Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex for a pair of next-generation large-capacity Aframax tankers.

Each of the vessels will have a deadweight of 114,000t and will feature 1A / 1B ice class, which will allow the vessels to conduct year-round operations in areas with demanding ice conditions, including sub-Arctic seas and Russian ports of the Baltic region.

The vessels will use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as primary fuel to reduce emissions of harmful substances such as sulphur oxides (SOx) by 100%, nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 76%, and carbon dioxide (CO2) by 27%, when compared with similar vessels powered by heavy fuel.

A team of SCF’s specialists, along with Far Eastern Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Centre (FESRC) and Zvezda partner Hyundai Heavy Industries, have designed the technical specification of the tankers.

“This project builds on the positive experience of interaction with Vneshekonombank in financing the construction of unique Arctic shuttle tankers.”

The specification is based on the regulatory limits on sulphur, nitrogen and greenhouse gas emissions, which are scheduled to become effective for the Baltic and North Seas by 2020.

Sovcomflot president and CEO Sergey Frank said: “Sovcomflot is the world leader in the Aframax tanker segment, with our vessels serving the needs of the largest oil and gas companies for safe transportation of crude oil in the Baltic, North Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean, Sea of Okhotsk, and the Sea of Japan.

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“This project builds on the positive experience of interaction with Vneshekonombank in financing the construction of unique Arctic shuttle tankers of the Mikhail Ulyanov series at the Admiralty Shipyards in Saint Petersburg.”

Sovcomflot also signed agreements with Rosneft and VEB Group for a 20-year time-charter and receive funding to build the tankers, respectively.