The Optimus LNG bunker vessel operates in the Baltic Sea. Credit: Damen.
The construction of the vessel commenced with the first steel cut at the Damen Yichang Shipyard in March 2019. Credit: Damen.
The LNG vessel can store approximately 6,000m³ of LNG at -163°C. Credit: Elenger.

The Optimus liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering vessel operated by Elenger, an Estonian energy company, is the first of Damen’s new liquified gas carrier (LGC) 6000 LNG-class vessels. It is the first LNG bunkering vessel operational in the Gulf of Finland region of the Baltic Sea.

The vessel is owned by Elenger’s parent company Infortar, a private investment company based in Estonia. It is being operated by Elenger under a contract with Infortar.

The shipbuilding contract for the vessel was awarded to Danish shipbuilding company Damen in October 2018. The first steel for Optimus was cut at the Damen Yichang Shipyard in China in March 2019, while the keel-laying ceremony was held in May 2019.

The LNG bunkering vessel was successfully launched in September 2020 and delivered to Elenger at the port of Rotterdam in October 2021. It was commissioned in November 2021.

Elenger is the refuelling service provider for regional ferry company Tallink Group’s LNG-fuelled RoPax ferry Megastar using multiple specialist trucks. The Optimus LNG bunkering vessel replaced the trucks with an energy-efficient service. Tallink, which is also a subsidiary of Infortar, is the launch customer for the vessel. It signed a long-term agreement with Elenger for the technical support and manning of the new bunkering vessel.

Optimus is expected to fast-track the adoption and development of LNG fuel-based transportation in the Baltic Sea.

Optimus LNG bunker vessel details

The Optimus is an ice-class LNG bunkering vessel that complies with the requirements of ICE class 1A certification. It provides fast and safe bunkering operations in ports and at sea, at designated anchorage points. It also provides ship-to-ship LNG bunkering services.

The all-weather vessel comes with double propeller lines and an efficient hull design, which enable enhanced manoeuvrability in different types of ports.

The Optimus LNG bunkering vessel has a length of 99.8m, a width of 18.6m, and a deadweight of 3,300t.

LNG bunkering systems

The Optimus LNG bunkering vessel features two 3C-type LNG storage tanks with a combined storage capacity of up to 6,000m³ of LNG at -163°C. It has a transfer rate of up to 1,000m³/h of LNG.

The tanks and the associated piping system of the LNG bunkering vessel are located partly exposed on the deck of the vessel. The design provides easy access and ensures flexibility for easy upgrade options in the future.

The LNG bunkering vessel also features a modern cargo handling system and redundant manifold arrangements for flexible fuel transfers.

Optimus vessel’s area of operations

The Optimus LNG bunkering vessel operates in the eastern part of the Baltic Sea, especially in the Gulf of Finland. It can be used as a feeder or bunker vessel.

The main areas of operation for Optimus include Tallinn, Hanko, Vuosaari, and Helsinki harbours, as well as multiple anchorage points in the Baltic Sea.

The bunkering vessel offers services for tankers, cargo ships, passenger vessels and service craft.

Propulsion and performance

The ice-class vessel uses a dual-fuel propulsion system to manage the boil-off gas (BOG) in combination with a gas burner. The bunkering vessel can achieve a speed of 13.4kt.

Financing for Optimus LNG bunkering vessel

The financing for the construction of the LNG ship was provided by Infortar. The project was also supported by funding from Finnish financial services company OP Financial Group, and the EU through its Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for Transport programme, an initiative focused on the development of sustainable and efficiently interconnected trans-European transport network.