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Sovcomflot Takes Delivery of Russian-Built and Financed Aframax Tanker

Russian Aframax LNG-fueled tanker
Sovcomflot took deliver of its first Russian-built and financed Aframax tanker (Zvezda)

Published Dec 29, 2022 4:53 PM by The Maritime Executive

PAO Sovcomflot took delivery today, December 29, on its first Russian-built and financed LNG-fueled Aframax tanker. The delivery was especially significant for the Russian shipping company which had been hard hit by the western financial sanctions after the start of the war in Ukraine.

Built at the Zvezda SSC shipbuilding complex, the new 112,650 dwt vessel named Okeansky Prospekt was financed by VEB.RF. The vessel along with a yet-to-be-completed sister ship was ordered in September 2018 and will be chartered to Rosneft. Each of the vessels, which will be registered in Russia, is 820 feet long with a beam of 144 feet.

The tankers are 1A/1B ice class vessels, which will allow them to transport oil year-round despite the ice conditions in the Far East or Baltic. The vessels are part of Sovcomflot’s new fleet of LNG-fueled tankers outfitted with dual-fuel engines. They will have a top speed of 14.6 knots. 

They are among the first Aframax tankers built in Russia and part of a total class of 12 vessels to be built at Zvezda. The first two vessels of the class, named Vladimir Monomakh and Vladimir Vinogradov, were previously delivered to JSC Rosnefteflot in 2020 and earlier this year. Four more tankers are currently under construction at the shipyard. In total, with the participation of Sovcomflot, Zvezda is to build a total of 20 tankers and Arctic gas carriers representing 2 million dwt.

“We are proud that SCF's more than five years of practical experience in the development and operation of LNG-fueled tankers has contributed to the introduction of modern civil shipbuilding technologies in Russia,” said Alexei Khaidukov, First Deputy General Director - Chief Operating Officer of PAO Sovcomflot during the handover ceremony. “It is gratifying to note that the implementation of the Sovcomflot shipbuilding program at Zvezda is making a significant contribution to the economy of Primorye, contributing to the creation of new high-performance jobs for workers in the maritime and shipbuilding industries.”

Work on the vessels began in June 2020 when the first steel was cut. Assembly on the slipway began in November 2020 and the launching and naming ceremonies took place in August and September of this year. The vessel has undergone extensive sea trials before her handover.

“Tankers of this type as Okeansky Prospekt are being built in Russia for the first time,” commented VEB.RF Deputy Chairman Daniil Algulyan. “This is not only a tangible contribution to the development of Russian shipbuilding but also another step towards the introduction of LNG fuel as the main fuel for large-capacity tankers.”

The delivery came at the close of what developed into a challenging year for Sovcomflot. After the imposition of the financial sanctions, the company went into technical default on its Eurobonds. The sanctions blocked the company’s ability to pay the coupons on its Eurobonds. In April and May, the company sold vessels to reduce its exposure to western financial institutions, while South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering also canceled orders for three Arctic LNG carriers saying the buyer had been unable to make installment payments due to the sanctions.

Sovcomflot recently completed refinancing raising $695 million in replacement Russian bonds. A further $233 million in Eurobonds however remains in circulation. The company still can not make payments due to the sanctions.