The Leif Höegh (UK) Ltd operated LNG Carrier Arctic Princess, a NIS-registered LNG carrier of 121 597 gross tonnes, registered high temperatures in the stern tube bearing shortly after leaving the El Ferrol yard for sea trial on the Atlantic Coast in north-western Spain, on the afternoon of 21 November.
On the morning of the 24th November under calm and stable weather conditions the Arctic Princess proceeded towards shore under own propulsion with the aim of arriving at the El Ferrol pilot station at 08:30. The voyage was carried out as planned picking up the pilot and connecting to the El Ferrol port tugs for her port entry. The vessel entered the El Ferrol dry dock some hours later.
The vessel, built 2006, left dry dock as planned morning of the 21 November and decided to shut down her propulsion around 16:00 in order to avoid overheating of the bearing. The vessel was in ballast condition and gas free. Due to unstable weather conditions providing challenging manoeuvring conditions for vessel and the tug boats, the Arctic Princess decided to head towards open sea by own propulsion later that afternoon. The vessel proceeded joined by two tugs in standby mode. The vessel preceded 24 nm off the coast where she slow steamed in circles waiting for improved weather conditions. A third tug boat was assigned by the operator to be in stand-by for the vessel and was in position early in the morning on 23rd.
The choice to shut down the vessels propulsion system was done as a precautionary measure in order to avoid excess damage and to maintain the availability of propulsion if required. Tugs were immediately contracted by Höegh LNG Fleet management and arrived on site shortly after. At no time was there any immediate danger for the crew, environment or the vessel and the vessel maintained contact with and cooperated with Spanish authorities at all times.
A response team was mobilized in managers head office shortly after the engine shutdown, supporting the Master during the whole operation.
The vessel will now investigate the cause of the problems, thought to be related to the tail shaft bearing. This will be carried out by Navantia shipyard in El Ferrol in close dialogue with the manager, shipbuilder and classification society Det Norske Veritas.
Image: Höegh LNG