After a long conversion period, the trailing suction hopper dredger Samuel de Champlain sailed from Damen shipyard in Dunkirk last Friday, June 14th, to the Loire estuary where she arrived on Sunday, June 16th, to start dredging operations.
Dragages-Ports EIG, owner of the ship, decided in 2016 to replace the existing diesel generators of Samuel de Champlain by a dual fuel (diesel and LNG) system, in order to improve the reliability and the environmental performance of the ship.
This conversion is part of a wider European project called “S/F SamueLNG for a Blue Atlantic arch”, implemented by a consortium of 12 members, including the French ports of Nantes-Saint-Nazaire, Le Havre and Rouen, but also the Spanish ports of Vigo and Gijon and their technical partners, and the Central Dredging Association (CEDA).
Long and complex conversion works
The €17,8 million contract concerning the conversion of THSD Samuel de Champlain into dual fuel engines was awarded by Dragages-Ports in July, 2017, to Damen Shiprepair & Conversion after a European tender.
Under the contract, Damen delivered a turnkey package that included engineering, replacement of existing gensets by three 3180 kW dual fuel gensets based on MAN 6L35/44DF engines, two type C tanks containing 153 m3 of LNG each, representing a range of one week.
Two refueling stations, a nitrogen unit, piping networks and the modernization of the control/command system were also included in the contract.
Engineering studies and procurement took more than 14 months, and the conversion works started on October 8th, 2018, in Damen shipyard in Dunkirk.
The delivery of the ship was initially scheduled to take place in January, 2019, but was delayed several times due to the numerous technical issues. Last week, the sea trials were successful.
TSHD Samuel de Champlain is the first French flag ship using LNG as a fuel. The new MAN 6L35/44DF gensets will allow to dredge continuously in gas-mode operation (Tier III).
Using LNG 100% of the time will further reduce the emissions of air pollutants compared to diesel oil: the objective of -20% CO2, -80% Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and -99% Particulate Matters (PM) will be checked in the coming weeks by on-site measurements.
Even if her dredging performances remain the same, the new start of Samuel de Champlain is the beginning of a new era.
The results of the whole SamueLNG project will be presented during a European conference in Saint-Nazaire (France), on the 25th and 26th of September, 2019.