ABB provides 24/7 remote support to Sovcomflot’s trailblazing LNG carrier on the Northern Sea Route

Source: press release, 5 June 2020

Icebreaking LNG carrier ‘Christophe de Margerie’
Icebreaking LNG carrier ‘Christophe de Margerie’ (photo: Sovcomflot)

The pioneering icebreaking liquified natural gas (LNG) carrier Christophe de Margerie will now have round-the-clock remote support provided through ABB’s global network of eight ABB Ability™ Collaborative Operations Centers. Remote support and connectivity, coupled with advanced data analytics enabled by the ABB Ability™ Remote Diagnostics System, enhance Christophe de Margerie’s operational safety and ensure optimal performance, while helping to promptly detect and correct faults on board.

“ABB Azipod® propulsion, with which Christophe de Margerie is equipped, strongly contributed to the vessel’s successful passage along the Northern Sea Route while facing some of the world’s most challenging ice conditions,” says Igor Tonkovidov, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sovcomflot. “ABB’s Remote Diagnostics System ensures that our crews can rely on a robust round-the-clock support, which helps enhance vessel performance and operational safety.”

In May 2020, Christophe de Margerie has successfully completed an eastbound journey across the Northern Sea Route 2 months earlier than usual, to deliver liquefied gas from the Yamal LNG industrial complex to China, supported by ABB’s experts remotely. The ARC7 ice-class tanker has made history in 2017 as the first merchant vessel to cross the full length of the Northern Sea Route without icebreaker assistance.

“This latest development in our long cooperation with Sovcomflot is another major step forward in our ‘Electric. Digital. Connected.’ strategy,” says Juha Koskela, Managing Director, ABB Marine & Ports. “It comes at a key moment in shipping’s digital journey, with real-time support for a sophisticated vessel such as Christophe de Margerie demonstrating that our connected expertise can be delivered in full, no matter how remote the location.”

Like her sister ships servicing Yamal LNG, the 172,600-cbm vessel is equipped with three of the largest Azipod® propulsion units ever supplied by ABB. Together, the giant 15 MW Azipod® units provide total power of 45 MW, enabling the vessel to navigate safely through ice up to 2.1 metre thick. The units, which can be rotated 360 degrees, boost vessel manoeuvrability and have unparalleled performance in ice, providing thrust in any direction.

Christophe de Margerie joins over 1,000 ships supported by the ABB Ability™ Collaborative Operations Centers worldwide. From these hubs, ABB experts monitor operational shipboard systems, coordinate equipment diagnostics and offer predictive maintenance services. This backup is particularly crucial for complex vessels navigating through ice in the far north.

This latest contract brings the total number of Sovcomflot vessels supported by ABB Ability™ Remote Diagnostics Systems for Marine to 16.