Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Celebratory Launch for LUKoil Tanker

ST. PETERSBURG -- As a bottle of champagne exploded on its massive bow, the first $30 million LUKoil tanker pulled away from the Admiralteiskiye Verfi shipyard Thursday before a crowd of thousands.

St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev and the directors of LUKoil and Admiralteiskiye, accompanied by a Russian navy marching band and an Orthodox priest and choir, toasted the send-off of the 20,000 metric ton oil tanker as it slipped out of port to sail 100 meters before dropping anchor.

With the tanker's master engineers standing high on the bow of the ship above the crowd, the president of LUKoil, Vagit Alekperovas, thanked those who spent long hours "laboring away for our company. This is a great day for LUKoil," he said.

The LUKoil arctic tanker is the first in a series of five $30 million tankers ordered by Russia's largest oil company. The second of the five is also nearing completion, according to the shipyard press center.

In early August, acting Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Aksyonenko provided state guarantees to LUKoil for the completion of the vessels.

The oil tanker, Astrakhan, is a 11,640 horsepower vessel - 155 meters long, 24 meters wide, 13 meters high and with a draft of 9 meters - and an enforced class icebreaker with an unlimited sailing range.