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Russian shipping giant Sovcomflot (SCF Group) has signed a set of agreements with Rosneft, Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex and VEB Group, placing orders with Zvezda for a series of two next generation large-capacity Aframax tankers.

One of the largest leasing companies in Russia, VEB-Leasing, will finance the construction of the tankers, while a subsequent 20-year time-charter for them has been agreed with compatriot petroleum company Rosneft.

The vessels will feature 114,000dwt and a 1A/1B ice class, which makes them able to operate all year round in areas with difficult ice conditions, including sub-Arctic seas and Russian ports of the Baltic region.

"The technical specification of the tankers reflects the regulatory limits on sulphur, nitrogen and greenhouse gas emissions, which will come into effect for the Baltic and North Seas in 2020,” Sovcomflot said.

These next generation tankers are designed to operate on LNG fuel, providing for a low level of human impact on the environment as they reduce emissions of harmful substances.

"We welcome the plans of the Russian shipbuilders, from Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex, to create modern large-capacity vessels using natural gas-based bunkers (LNG) as their primary fuel. I'm sure that it is with such vessels that the future of merchant shipping lies,” Sergey Frank, President and CEO of PAO Sovcomflot, said.

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