The first Russian LNG-fueled rail ferry ‘Marshal Rokossovsky’ launched

The CNF19M Class Marshal Rokossovsky railway ferry designed by ‘Marine Engineering Bureau’ was launched at the Kuzey Star shipyard (Turkey). “Rosmorport” FSUE which is the customer and operator of the vessel ordered her with the Arctic category ARC4 option for year-round operation on the Ust-Luga – Baltiysk line without an icebreaker escort.

The ferry Marshal Rokossovsky has a dual-fuel system and is intended to replace the fairly old Baltiysk and Ambal ferries (CNF05 Class), which are now operating on the line. The main fuels for the new ferry are liquefied natural gas (LNG) and diesel.

The vessel is designed to transport Russian standard gauge railroad train cars as well as other rolling cargo, including dangerous goods, and up to thirty 20-foot refrigerated containers.

“This is the largest vessel in terms of its dimensions built in Turkish shipyards,” explained Gennady Yegorov, ‘Marine Engineering Bureau’ Director General.

The commissioning of these ferries will make it possible to renew the fleet occupied at the crossing, which is important for the country, said Vasily Strugov, ‘Rosmorport’ Deputy Director General for Fleet during the launching ceremony. “The commissioning of new ferries will make it possible to substantially renew the fleet assets employed at this strategically important shipping line, reorient part of the cargo traffic currently going to and from the Kaliningrad region via the territory of neighboring countries, and also ensure the transportation of goods in the volumes required for domestic consumption”. “It is remarkable that we are becoming pioneers. There are no such “green” ferries – operating on both low-sulfur diesel fuel and LNG – in Russia today. The use of environmentally friendly fuels will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 20-30%, nitrogen oxides – over 90%, sulfur and soot oxides – by 100% compared to similar ships using traditional heavy fuel. This is our contribution to the preservation of the ecology, to the creation of a favorable environment for future generations,” added Mr. Strugov.

Marshal Rokossovsky (building No. 191) is the lead ferry in a series of two vessels of the CNF19M Class. She was laid down on October 17, 2018, launched on August 21, 2020. The handover to the customer may take place in the spring of 2021. The second ferry General Chernyakhovsky (building number 192), laid down on April 23, 2019, is also being built in cooperation with the Nevsky Shipyard and the Kuzey Star.

As previously reported, there is only one ship owner in Russia, PJSC ‘Sovcomflot’, already successfully using and ordering new LNG-fueled cargo ships (a series of “green” AFRAMAXes).

The actual construction of LNG vessels for other operators has been slow. So, the first LNG-fueled river passenger vessel “Chaika” (Seagull) was launched at JSC ‘Zelenodolsk Plant named after A.M. Gorky’ on August 7, 2020,. This tourist vessel is 58.8 m long, 10.8 m wide and has a passenger capacity of up to 176. Marshal Rokossovsky became the first Russian ferry capable operate on LNG.

The concept, technical design and design documentation of the CNF19M Class ships were developed by the ‘Marine Engineering Bureau’, which since 2014 has been conducting research on the concept of a cargo ferry for the Ust-LugaBaltiysk line.

“Optimization of the hull contours and subsequent numerical simulation of tests in the pool made it possible to significantly improve the hull shape and reduce fuel consumption, including through a rational approach to the choice of speed and line organization,” the Marine Engineering Bureau noted. “At the same time, the ferry, unlike the previously proposed concepts, is purely cargo vessel without the function of transporting passengers.

Considering that the passenger transportation on the Ust-LugaBaltiysk line is subsidized, and passenger requirements significantly affect the general structure of the vessel, speed and power plant (significantly reduce the carriage capacity and increase the cost of freight traffic), the customer’s decision to make the new ferry purely cargo are supposed to make this ship class operationally profitable”.

As a result, a 200-meter road-rail LNG-fueled ferry of ice category Arc4 was built, which has a closed cargo deck for cars and an open upper deck for auto trailers and cars, a forward location of a residential superstructure and a stern engine room, with a twin-screw propulsion unit, a stern thruster, and two bow thrusters, with the placement of gas tanks in the hold in the middle part at a safe distance from both the superstructure and the engine room, with a double bottom and double sides, with the possibility of bunkering gas simultaneously from four road trains using a ship booster module, as well as from a bunkering vessel and from an onshore LNG bunker base.

The upper deck (superstructure roof) is designed for the transportation of cargo trailers. Wheeled vehicles are loaded onto the main deck both from the bridges of the ferry terminals and from removable coastal Ro-Ro bridges. Wheeled vehicles are elevated to the upper deck from the main deck through an internal ramp.

Vessel characteristics:

РС КМ class: Arc4 AUT1-ICS OMBO ECO GFS Ro-ro ship

L/W: 199,9 m/ 27,4 m

Deadweight 11057 t

Main engines: 2 x 6000 kWt

Cruise speed: 16,5 knots

Crew / passengers: 24 / 12

Cargo capacity: 36 – 80 railway cars or 58 road trains (main deck); 40 trailers (upper deck) Endurance (fuel): 10 days

Expert comments: It is a very good idea to use LNG as the main fuel for sea ferries with its specific operational cycle. Unfortunately, this concept was missed when ordering new railway ferries for the Vanino – Kholmsk line. But, Sakhalin Island with its gas fields and a modern LNG production complex, in all respects is ideally suited for the gasification of the transport industry in the Russian Far East.




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