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A2A May Revitalize Bering Strait Crossing Project

October 13, InfraNews

The US President’s approval of the construction of a new railroad that will link Alaska to Canada’s rail network has sparked interest in an even more ambitious infrastructure project that could connect the northernmost state of the United States to the Russian Far East and further to Asia, TASS reports citing ‘South China Morning Post’.

In September, US President Donald Trump approved the Alaska-Alberta Railroad project (A2A). The construction cost of the 2,400 km highway is estimated at US $ 22 billion. This project could become the first link in the railway network linking Asia directly with America through the Bering Strait.

The idea of ​​building a crossing over the Bering Strait was proposed at the end of the XIX Century. The strait is 85 km wide and only 55 meters deep, it is not prone to tides, there are no strong currents. Anyway, the tunnel is preferable since the steel bridge structures are vulnerable in the arctic climate. The construction of the crossing would be a major breakthrough in the implementation of China’s “Belt and Road” Strategy. However, the project attracted many protests and became the subject of heated discussions. Its opponents point to the huge costs, the complexity of implementation from the point of view of engineering tasks, the detrimental impact on the environment, the risks of opening the borders for a potential enemy.


Coal Seaport on Sakhalin Island Will Increase Annual Throughput to 14 million tons

Two modern self-propelled barges with a combined deadweight of 15,000 tons will join the auxiliary fleet  of  Shakhtersk coal seaport on Sakhalin Island. The vessels will increase the port’s coal processing capacity by 1.9 million tons per year, the press service of the “Eastern Mining Company” told TASS reporters.

It was noted that the barges are now being towed from the port of Moulamyain (Myanmar) to the shipyard in the Chinese Weihai district for modernization. After completion the barges will be registered in the Russian International Register of Ships and repositioned to the RINA class of the international classification society RINA S.p.A. (Registro Italiano Navale). Then the barges will be towed to the Sakhalin port of Shakhtersk and will commence coal reloading operations by the beginning of 2021 navigational period.

“The purchase of two additional self-propelled barges will help optimize the sea cycle and increase the port’s throughput by 1.9 million tons per year. The new barges were purchased with the attraction of investments from the company “Rocktree VGK STV”, which was created to develop offshore coal shipment in the Uglegorsk region (Sakhalin) in the free port of Vladivostok (FPV) mode. The investments amounted to about 690 million rubles”, the press service said.

According to the company, currently the port’s throughput capacity is 11-12 million tons per year. Thanks to the new barges named ‘Star Excellence’ and ‘Star Success’, the figure will increase to 14 million tons per year, which is a significant progress for the export of solid fuel to the countries of the Asia-Pacific region. The “Eastern Mining Company” LLC is the main coal mining enterprise in the Sakhalin Region, which accounts for about 80% of all coal production in the region. The confirmed reserves exceed 300 million tons of coal on Sakhalin Island and more than 100 million tons have been explored in the Magadan region. Its main assets – “Solntsevsky coal mine LLC” and Shakhtersk coal seaport operating in the framework of the Free Port regime –were acquired by the company in 2013.


“Viktor Chernomyrdin’ Icebreaker to Join “ROSMOTPORT” on November 3, 2020

The 25 MW ‘Viktor Chernomyrdin’ icebreaker will be handed over to “Rosmorport” FSUE (the customer) on November 3, 2020 in St. Petersburg, coincided with the birthday of Viktor Chernomyrdin. It was told by Mr. Alexei Rakhmanov, the head of the “United Shipbuilding Corporation” (USC) on October 7, during his presentation for the Council of Federation of Russia.

‘Viktor Chernomyrdin’ is one of the most powerful diesel-electric icebreakers in the world. The vessel with a displacement of 22.3 thousand tons has a speed of about 17 knots in clear water and is capable to break continuous ice field up to three meters thick with a snow cover of 20 cm at a speed of 2 knots, both in forward and reverse directions. The icebreaker is highly maneuverable; it is equipped with a pneumatic hull flushing system protecting against the formation of a snow-ice crust. Crew 38 people, endurance 61 days.

Besides the standard mission of icebreaking support and towage of other ships in heavy ice ‘Viktor Chernomyrdin’ is capable of transporting and supplying scientific expeditions and tourists in the Arctic and Antarctic voyages. The ship accommodates up to 90 people in addition to her crew, there are special rooms and laboratories suited for the placement of scientific equipment. The icebreaker can serve as a fire-fighting vessel as well. Diesel icebreaker with a capacity of 25 MW, project 22600 “Viktor Chernomyrdin” was laid down at the “Baltic Shipyard” on October 10, 2012, launched on December 30, 2016, the acceptance certificate was signed at the end of September 2020.


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.

FleetMon: 4 Iranian tankers seized by the USA

August 18, 2020

The U.S has seized the cargo of 4 Iranian oil tankers en route to Venezuela last Friday.

An estimated 1.116 million barrels of petroleum onboard the Liberian-flagged M/T BELLA, M/T BERING, M/T PANDI and M/T Luna were seized. The Greek companies linked to the vessels in question are IMS SA, Bandit Shipping Co, Palermo SA, Paladine Maritime Inc, Vienna Ltd, and Rifia Shipping Co. The seized cargo is reported to be en route to Houston.

Source: FleetMon

Novatek transits first LNG cargo to Japan through Northern Sea Route


The Russian oil and gas major, Novatek recently shipped the first LNG cargo to Japan from its Yamal LNG initiative, via the Northern Sea Route.

Specifically, behind the LNG cargo delivery was the 299 meters long ice-breaking LNG tanker “Vladimir Rusanov”.

What is more, the delivery was made under a spot contract, while the cargo was unloaded at the Ohgishima LNG Terminal in Japan.

In light of the above, Lev Feodosyev, NOVATEK’s First Deputy Chairman of the Management Board, said: “We focus a significant amount of attention to develop and enhance the logistical scheme for our LNG projects. The future launch of a transshipment terminal in Kamchatka will significantly expand our opportunities to cost competitively deliver and supply LNG to the entire Asia-Pacific region.”

For the records, Novatek is considered to be the largest independent natural gas producer in Russia, and in 2017, entered the global LNG market by successfully launching the Yamal LNG project.

Overall, Novatek recently informed that the Arc7 ice-class LNG tanker, “Christophe de Margerie” successfully transited the Eastbound ice-covered part of the Northern Sea Route.

Source: Safety4Sea

SeaNews: COVID-19 Recovery. Volatility and uncertainty as the New Normal

August 17, 2020

11.6% of the container shipping fleet is now idle and reached a record of 2.72 million TEU by the end of May according to Alphaliner. Amongst the carriers, HMM has the largest idle fleet at 32.9% of the carriers overall capacity. With container shipping demand hammered, stores closed and people losing their jobs it became incredibly difficult to sell their product for every part of the supply chain.

Source: SeaNews