S/F SamueLNG Project, lead by France’s Dragages Ports started in mid December, in the Port of Gijon, Spain and is the first phase of the Global Project ‘Towards a Blue Atlantic Arch by 2025’.

Dredger 'Samuel de Champlain' will be retrofitted with LNG propulsion by a yard yet to be decided  (©NSNP-A.Bocquel)

Dredger 'Samuel de Champlain' will be retrofitted with LNG propulsion by a yard yet to be decided (©NSNP-A.Bocquel)

The overall project aims to improve the sustainability of marine traffic through the use of marine Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as an environmentally-friendly, and cost-effective, alternative to conventional ship fuels for small vessels.

The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has agreed that implementation of a 0.5% global sulphur cap on marine fuel will be brought forward to 2020, from the originally proposed date of 2025. The S/F SamueLNG Project will contribute to this by helping to achieve the objectives of two key EU Directives: Directive 2014/94/EU on the sustainability of the European maritime transport and Directive 2012/33/EU on reduction in the sulphur content of marine fuels.

The S/F SamueLNG Project will cover the following key activities:

* LNG retrofit of DP’s Samuel de Champlain - an 8,500m3 Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger - from Marine Gas Oil to a dual-source fuel engine system

* LNG bunkering studies including: a risk assessment in the port of Nantes Saint-Nazaire, a mobile bunkering unit in the Port of Gijon, and a floating device in the Port of Vigo (in conjunction with each of the port’s partners)

* Environmental Impact Assessment studies in the Ports of Rouen, Le Havre and Nantes Saint-Nazaire

* The training of staff involved in LNG operations in the Ports of Nantes Saint-Nazaire and Rouen

* Dissemination of the results to the maritime community by CEDA

The SamueLNG Project is coordinated by Dragages Ports and supported by a solid consortium of 12 partners, from along the Atlantic Arch, representing France, Spain and the Netherlands. The partners working alongside DP are:

* 5 public port authorities: Nantes Saint-Nazaire (GPMNSN), Le Havre (GPMH), Rouen (GPMR), Port Authority of Gijon (APG), Port Authority of Vigo (APV)

* 2 ship engineering and design companies: Inova, Ghenova

* 2 energy supply companies: Energias de Portugal (EDP), Gas Natural Fenosa (GNF)

* A short sea shipping company: Suardiaz (VN)

* CEDA (The international dredging association

The S/F SamueLNG Project started work in earnest, at the meeting in Gijon, Spain, to agree schedules which will be disseminated to all interested parties in due course. The EU tendering process, to choose the shipyard that will carry out the LNG conversion, will begin soon.

By Jake Frith