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Breaking the ice: China launches its 1st all-season Arctic LNG tanker

Breaking the ice: China launches its 1st all-season Arctic LNG tanker
China’s first ice-breaking tanker capable of carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) through the icy Arctic waters all-year round at minus 50 degrees temperatures, has officially been launched.

The Arc7 ice class vessel, developed by China’s Guangzhou Shipyard International, was given the name Boris Sokolov during a ceremony in South China’s Guangdong province on Tuesday. The vessel boasts the “unique” ability to operate in harsh Arctic winter even in temperatures below -50 degrees Celsius (-58 Fahrenheit), according to local media citing deputy general manager of the shipyard.


The ship can carry 44,500 tons of cargo and has ice-breaking tools at both ends of the vessel, allowing it to cut through 1.8 meter thick ice and ice ridges below 15 meters (50ft).

READ MORE: What sanctions? US, Japan & India join new Russian LNG project

The 214 meter long and 34 meter wide tanker was designed for Greek shipowner Dynacom and is to be used for the $27 billion Yamal LNG project in Russia’s Arctic. The project began operations last December in Russia’s northwest Siberia and has already shipped two million tons of LNG.


In November, a tanker of a similar class to the newly-launched Chinese ship successfully reloaded an LNG cargo delivered from the Yamal LNG facility to the lower ice-class designated tanker ‘Pskov’. The reloaded liquefied gas will be delivered to customers in Northwest Europe, according to independent Russian gas producer and major Yamal LNG’s stakeholder Novatek.

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