A formal steel-cutting ceremony commenced the conversion of the trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD) Samuel de Champlain to Europe’s first LNG-powered dredger at the Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque (DSDu). The conversion would be from diesel-electric propulsion to dual-fuel natural gas (LNG) capability blended with marine gas oil (MGO). The steel-cutting was held at the DSDu yard and was intended for the prefabrication of a hull’s new section that would hold generators and extra equipment.
At the occasion, the dignitaries present were Jean-Pierre Guellec, GIE administrator and CEO of Dragages-Ports, the owner of the vessel, Stéphane Raison, President Director General of Great Maritime Port of Dunkirk. Also present were Eric Sorel, Commandant de Port, and the representatives of DSDu and the Samuel de Champlain project team.
Mark Jan van den Akker, the DSDu CEO, reportedly made the welcome speech, where he noted that the Samuel de Champlain was the first conversion to be done by DSDu. And, Jean-Pierre Guellec joined Akker in celebrating the momentous event, highlighting that it was the first conversion in his fleet and also the first of its kind in Europe. Guellec also expressed pleasure in the undertaking of the project in partnership with DSDu.
Damen is working on a turnkey package inclusive of procurement, engineering, and support. The engineering studies were being subcontracted to LMG Marin France. Meanwhile, the propulsion system of the Samuel de Champlain is said to be diesel-electric burning MGO. The new engines would be installed on the new block currently prefabricated in DSDu’s workshop.
Samuel de Champlain is the largest vessel in the GIE Dragages-Ports fleet and based in the Grand Maritime Port of Nantes-Saint-Nazaire, she divides her time between the Seine and Loire estuaries.
The conversion is a thread of an EU-supported scheme that would support LNG propulsion in short-sea vessels and, is maintained by the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) of the European Commission by a subsidy through its Connecting Europe Facility program.