During the ’Ship/shore interface: cargo transfer and monitoring technology’ webinar, experts examined the latest technologies and standards for ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship (STS) cargo transfers
Experts from the LNG and LPG tanker and terminal industry called for standardised connections between ships and terminals to improve safety, efficiency and ensure vessels can trade worldwide.
The webinar was the first in Riviera Maritime Media’s Tankers and Terminals: Gas Carriers Webinar Week, part of our ongoing series of webinars.
Attendees heard from Petronet LNG chief manager for port operations Captain Nilendra Kumar, K Line LNG Shipping (UK) marine superintendent Jonathan Heath, Smit Lamnalco global director LNG business and project development Andrew Brown and Trelleborg Marine Systems technical director Andrew Stafford.
These experts spoke about the regulatory and safety considerations for ship to terminal and STS cargo transfer operations. They discussed the importance of standardising emergency shutdown (ESD) systems, the role of marine loading arms, jetty-based systems and cryogenic hose technology.
Capt Kumar opened the webinar with a summary of the regulations and issues concerning terminals and LNG carrier operators during transfer operations. He separated these into pre-project, pre-ship fixture – where a ship-shore compatibility study should be completed – post-fixture and then arrival.
He said there should be standard pre-arrival information between the terminal and ship prior to its arrival, a safety checklist and pre-transfer operation agreement between the terminal and LNG carrier.
Capt Kumar encouraged both terminals and gas carrier operators to involve the master at an earlier stage when planning cargo transfers and to develop standardisation.
“As the industry standards are evolving, we need to share best practices and we have to upgrade continuously with innovative engineering solutions to meet the challenges that are increasing,” said Capt Kumar.
Mr Stafford then described the importance of ESDs and the need for standardisation, particularly as new terminals and floating unloading facilities are introduced. This includes incorporating standard connections for LNG bunkering. “We need to ensure vessels have the right installed equipment,” he said.
This may require retrofitting ships with more connectors and ESDs to ensure greater compatibility, safety and flexibility of cargo and fuel transfer operations. “Our end goal is to have terminals and ships having the same standards, so ships can trade anywhere around the world,” said Mr Stafford.
Mr Heath provided a ship operator’s perspective of challenges for STS and ship-to-shore transfers. He said K Line ships need at least four different types of connections to load and unload cargo at different terminals.
He highlighted the importance of completing compatibility and process studies “to ensure there are no issues” during cargo transfer operations. “There can be challenges. Sometimes we have found there has been lack of understanding from the terminals about the compatibility arrangements,” he said.
“The vessels are built to be compatible with numerous terminals around the world, but they tend to only go as far as the flat-body/fendering arrangements, mooring arrangements, and ship-shore link,” he continued. “Many vessels delivered with one standard set find incompatibility with numerous terminals.”
Mr Heath asked LNG industry bodies to seek more standardisation in terminal-ship connectivity to reduce these incompatibility issues.
“We have so many publications and guidance in the industry already, but there does not seem to be anything for the transfer system manufacturers to work with to have a standard connection at the manifold,” he said. “Could this be something SIGTTO [Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators] or OCIMF [Oil Companies International Marine Forum] could work on in the future?” he asked.
Mr Brown said a SIGTTO working group was generating new guidelines and principles for LNG STS in sheltered and unsheltered waters. But work on this was delayed by the global coronavirus pandemic. “The guidelines and principles will provide a uniformed approach for the industry, especially for new players,” said Mr Brown. These are now expected to be published in 2021.
Mr Brown highlighted in his presentation the processes that should be followed for new LNG terminal projects. This should include site surveys, environmental studies, dynamic mooring analysis, joint contingency planning, security considerations, reviewing competency levels of operational personnel and checking STS and ship-terminal communication and interfaces.
Mr Brown said there were five fundamental points to review for new STS projects, including the site’s location within a port or offshore, its operability, operational requirements, scope of work and to check all facilities are fit for purpose.
Part of these points of review are ensuring ships have the correct ESDs for the terminals they are expected to trade with. Around 71% of the webinar audience said they would specify their own ESD requirements for a gas carrier newbuilding programme. While the other 29% would allow a shipyard to specify the ESDs, based on its previous experience.
In a second poll, 46% of the audience said they were currently working with a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU). Another 11% said they expect to work with FSRUs in one year and 18% in two years; 11% expect to work with FSRUs in five years and the other 14% did not expect to work with FSRUs in the foreseeable future.
The third poll allowed for multiple answers. Of those who responded, 68% said they have bunkered LNG from an LNG carrier and 52% said they bunker from an FSRU.
In a fourth poll, 22% agreed and 64% of the audience strongly agreed that the industry would benefit from more standardisation. Around 5% disagreed and 9% of the audience strongly disagreed.
You can view the webinar, in full, in our webinar library.
And you can sign up to attend upcoming webinars on our events page.
Panellists (left to right): Ship/shore interface: cargo transfer and monitoring technology webinar speakers were Petronet LNG chief manager for port operations Captain Nilendra Kumar, Trelleborg Marine Systems technical director Andrew Stafford, K Line LNG Shipping (UK) marine superintendent Jonathan Heath and Smit Lamnalco global director LNG business and project development Andrew Brown