World’s first icebreaking LNG tanker starts sea trials

The Christophe de Margerie, the first ever icebreaking LNG tanker has docked in Zeebrugge, Belgium, where it is to undergo testing ahead of its official delivery to the Russian shipping company Sovcomflot, Neftegaz reports.

The ship was built by Daewoo Shipbuilding Marine Engineering (DSME) in Korea. It will be the world’s first LNG carrier with ice-class Arc7. It is designed for deliveries from Sabetta, the new Russian port built on the Yamal Peninsula to support the large LNG project there.

The vessel has the capacity to break through ice 2.1 meters (nearly 7 feet) thick and will be able to operate without icebreaker assistance for significant parts of the year. It can carry up to 172,600 cubic meters of liquefied natural gas.

The shipping company says that the LNG tanker has the engine power of 45 MW, which is “comparable with a nuclear powered icebreaker.”

“We are completing the construction of an innovative vessel, of which there today is no analogue in the world,” Sovcomflot leader Sergey Frank said in connection with a financial deal over the ship building in June 2016.

During its testing in Zeebrugge, the Christophe de Margerie will be loaded with small volumes of LNG from the local LNG terminal.

The ship is named after the Total CEO who died in a plane accident in Moscow in 2014.