Damen Shiprepair & Conversion has
been awarded a contract for the conversion of a dredger to dual-fuel combining
clean-burning liquefied natural gas (LNG) and marine gas oil (MPG).
This will be the first conversion of its
kind to take place in Europe. It is part of an EU-supported initiative to
promote LNG propulsion in short-sea vessels operating along the European
The contract was awarded by Rouen-based
GIE Dragages-Ports for its 117m, 8500m³ trailing suction hopper dredger Samuel
de Champlain, and the conversion will take place next year at Damen
The current propulsion system of
the Samuel de Champlain is diesel-electric burning MGO. The
turnkey package includes the change of generators to dual-fuel models and the
installation of onboard LNG storage facilities. The vessel was built in 2002
and is the largest vessel in the GIE Dragages-Ports fleet. Based in the Grand
Maritime Port of Nantes-Saint-Nazaire, she divides her time between the Loire
and Seine estuaries.
The conversion work is scheduled for the
autumn of 2018.
GIE Dragages-Ports is an economic
interest group that owns, maintains and charters out a fleet of seven dredgers
to six key ports serving the French Atlantic coast plus Marseille in the
Mediterranean. It is 50% owned by the seven ports and 50% by the French State.
Each port charters the dredgers from GIE Dragages-Ports according to its needs
and is responsible for operating them and supplying its own crew.
The conversion project is financed by a
subsidy from the European Commission’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency
(INEA) via its Connecting Europe Facility programme. To achieve the funding,
GIE Dragages-Ports formed a 12-member Franco-Spanish consortium named the ‘S/F
SamueLNG for a Blue Atlantic Arch’ project with the aim of promoting the use of
LNG by small-scale vessels active on the Atlantic coasts of Spain and France
and up into the English Channel / La Manche.
The conversion of the Samuel de
Champlain will demonstrate the feasibility of using LNG as a fuel on smaller
vessels, and allow GIE Dragages-Ports to fulfill its mission of optimising
costs via lower fuel bills and less engine maintenance, while at the same time
reducing CO2 emissions.
“The consortium allows us to share
experience with our partners and to access the support from INEA, without which
this project would not have been possible,” said Jean-Pierre Guellec, CEO of
GIE Dragages-Ports. “We hope that this conversion will demonstrate to other
short-sea vessels the benefits of conversion to LNG and mark the first stage of
the development of an LNG bunkering network on the Atlantic coast of mainland
“At Damen Shiprepair &
Conversion we believe in the fast growth of LNG as a marine fuel,” added
Alexandre Richerd, Sales Manager at Damen Shiprepair & Conversion. “We are
committed to sharing our expertise with our clients and supporting those who
are considering retrofitting their fleet to dual fuel. This contract proves the
ability of the Damen Group to offer its customers turnkey solutions for complex
LNG conversions integrating engineering and procurement.”