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First EU-converted dual fuel dredger returns to work

Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque (DSDu) has waved the Samuel de Champlain, a 117 metre, 8,500m³ trailing suction hopper dredger, off to work following her conversion to dual-fuel LNG/Diesel.

Owned by Rouen-based GIE Dragages-Ports and operated by the Port of Nantes-Saint-Nazaire, the Samuel de Champlain’ s conversion is intended to demonstrate the feasibility of using LNG as a fuel on smaller vessels, enabling her owner to fulfil its mission of optimising costs via lower fuel bills and less engine maintenance meanwhile delivering greatly reduced emissions of CO2, NOx and particulate matter emissions.

“We hope that this conversion will demonstrate to other short-sea vessels the benefits of switching to LNG,” said Jean-Pierre Guellec, CEO of GIE Dragages-Ports, “and mark the first stage of the development of an LNG bunkering network on the Atlantic coast of mainland Europe.”

Damen delivered a turnkey package that included engineering, procurement, installation, commissioning and support. Key features included changing of the engines to dual-fuel (LNG/Diesel) models, the installation of onboard LNG storage facilities, and maintenance support for eight years.

“We knew at the outset that this project would be a voyage into uncharted waters,” said Mark Jan van den Akker, Managing Director of DSDu. “We have however acquired much valuable experience along the way that we can apply to future works of this type. It was definitely worth going the extra mile to successfully deliver this ground-breaking project. We hope she will pave the way to greatly reducing the emissions of a class of vessels that typically works close to the shore.”

The Samuel de Champlain was built in 2002 and is the largest vessel in the GIE Dragages-Ports fleet. Based in the Grand Port Maritime of Nantes-Saint-Nazaire, she divides her time between the Loire and Seine estuaries. The conversion project was made possible by a subsidy from the European Commission’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) via its Connecting Europe Facility programme.

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