A steel cutting ceremony was held for the first Russian-built icebreaking LNG carrier, part of an order for 15 such vessels by Sovcomflot (SCF) from Russia’s Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex for the Arctic LNG 2 project
Set for delivery in Q1 2023, the ARC7-class LNG carrier vessel was ordered directly by SCF, while the other 14 vessels were ordered by Smart LNG, a joint venture of SCF and Russian independent gas company Novatek. Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RMS) is supervising the construction of the series.
Shipbuilding, financing, lease, and time charter contracts were signed by SCF, Novatek, Zvezda and VEB.RF Group in 2019.
Incorporating the experience Sovcomflot has acquired in operating large vessels within challenging ice-infested waters, the new class will have increased speed and manoeuvrability when sailing in ice conditions, compared with icebreaking LNG carriers of the previous generation. This will, for the first time, allow year-round navigation in the eastern sector of the Russian Arctic, thereby expediting the implementation of national plans to boost cargo traffic along the Northern Sea Route.
Each ARC7-class LNG carrier will have an overall length of 300 m, beam of 48 m, with three 15-MW ABB Azipod thrusters and a capacity of 172,000 m3. With the ability to break 2.1 m of ice, the vessels are expected to have an open sea speed of 19.5 knots, will fly the Russian flag and be crewed by Russian mariners.
One of the participants at the ceremony was Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov, who called the steel cutting “an important milestone,” adding, “These vessels will significantly contribute to the development of cargo traffic along the Northern Sea Route, which is strategically important for Russia.”
SCF president and chief executive Igor Tonkovidov, said "The start of construction of the first in this new generation of LNG carriers by Zvezda is a significant milestone for the Russian shipbuilding industry, which has never before constructed vessels with this level of engineering complexity. We are proud that the co-operation between Sovcomflot, Novatek, VEB.RF Group and Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex is helping to localise new civilian shipbuilding technologies in Russia and the mass-production of large-capacity vessels."
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