Shell announced the transfer on October 4. In addition to this being Shell’s first bunkering of this sort, it was also a first for the port. This has paved “the way for many other operations from the [Cardissa] vessel”, the company said. The Cardissa can hold around 6,500 cubic metres of LNG and is intended to serve customers throughout Europe. Shell took delivery of the vessel in August 2017.
Sovcomflot and Shell signed an LNG supply agreement in 2017 and this is the first delivery under that deal. The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2015 on developing LNG as a fuel for large-capacity tankers.
“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. It is highly appropriate that we celebrate this first with Sovcomflot and their first LNG powered tanker, which we also happen to charter,” said Shell Shipping and Maritime’s vice president, Grahaeme Henderson.
Sovcomflot’s president and CEO, Sergey Frank, said the company, with Shell, was determined to reduce the environmental impact of energy shipping. The first outcome from the company’s Green Funnel project was the “introduction into service of the world’s first Aframax tanker to use LNG as her primary fuel – Gagarin Prospect. Her arrival and inaugural LNG bunkering, by Shell’s tanker 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.”
Gagarin Prospect entered a multi-year time charter with Shell in July 2018. A sister ship, Samuel Prospect, is due to be delivered into a time charter with Shell in 2019. Under the deal from April 2017, Shell said it would supply LNG to four LNG-fuelled Aframaxes, with one supply point in Rotterdam and a second in the Baltics. After leaving Rotterdam, the Gagarin Prospect set off for Mongstad, in Norway.