Energy major Shell has supplied LNG as bunkers in a ship-to-ship (STS) operation to the world's first LNG-fuelled aframax which it has chartered in from Russian shipowner Sovcomflot (SCF Group).
Shell used its own LNG bunker vessel, the 6,500-cbm Cardissa (built 2017), to fuel Sovcomflot's 114,000-dwt, ice-class 1A newbuilding Gagarin Prospect in the first STS LNG bunkering in the Port of Rotterdam.
The LNG STS transfer was the first operation under the LNG fuel supply agreement between Shell and Sovcomflot signed in 2017.
Hailing the many firsts, Shell said the bunkering paved the way for many other operations from the vessel.
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."
Sovcomflot president and chief executive Sergey Frank said: “Together with Shell, SCF Group shares a determination to reduce the environmental impact of energy shipping.
Frank said this was "the genesis of our ‘Green Funnel’ project, under which Sovcomflot is building eight LNG-fuelled aframaxes.
Shell is chartering Gagarin Prospect and the sixth ship to be delivered. The Russian owner is due to take delivery of its first vessel, Lomonosov Prospect, later this year.
The Sovcomflot president added that Gagarin Prospect's arrival and inaugural LNG bunkering by 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."
"We are proud to partner with Shell and look forward to a bright and cleaner future, as more and more vessels opt for LNG as their primary fuel, and the associated LNG bunkering infrastructure is established in key ports worldwide," he said.
Port of Rotterdam chief executive Allard Castelein said the port "highly values and actively supports a more sustainable transport sector.
"We welcome the Gagarin Prospect and her sister vessels to our port and look forward to many more secure and efficient LNG bunker operations," he said.