The coronavirus outbreak in the US has delayed completion of a milestone articulated tug-barge (ATB) unit for LNG bunkering
VT Halter Marine shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, is building Q-LNG 4000 for Q-LNG Transport.
However, a VT Halter Marine representative told Riviera Maritime Media this project is delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While there have been no facility shutdowns, projects at the shipyard have experienced delays.
VT Halter Marine expects to deliver this 4,000 m3 capacity ATB later in Q2 2020. This is one of the most highly anticipated ATBs as it will be the first to supply LNG to other ships.
Q-LNG Transport is owned by Harvey Gulf International Marine (HGIM), a pioneer in using LNG as a fuel in the offshore market. HGIM built an LNG bunkering station at Port Fourchon, Louisiana, to refuel its platform supply vessels.
Once completed, Q-LNG 4000 will be used to bunker LNG for cruise ships and car carriers in the US. It was designed to handle a variety of ship-to-ship transfers.
Under long-term charter to Shell Trading (US), Q-LNG 4000 will initially bunker Carnival’s 6,700-passenger, XL-class cruise ship Mardi Gras and Siem Car Carrier’s two dual-fuel pure car truck carriers.
Q-LNG 4000 will source its LNG from the Elba Island LNG terminal in Savannah, Georgia.
Q-LNG has also received US Coast Guard approval to build two larger variants of Q-LNG 4000, with capacities of 5,400 m3 and 8,000 m3.
An even larger ATB LNG bunkering vessel will operate in the Port Canaveral and Miami area by the end of next year. It was ordered by Polaris New Energy (PNE), a subsidiary of NorthStar Midstream. PNE’s barge will source LNG from the JAX LNG terminal in Jacksonville, Florida, which is developed by NorthStar Midstream in partnership with Pivotal LNG.
PNE’s ATB is designed to have capacity of 5,400 m3 of LNG stored in four 1,350-m3 IMO Type C cargo tanks.
Wärtsilä is supplying the cargo handling system to shipbuilder Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, for the barge, with delivery set for H2 2021. PNE holds an option to build two more LNG bunker barges.
ABS will be classing the first three LNG bunker vessels to be built in the US.
ABS director of global gas development Aditya Aggarwal said PNE’s LNG bunkering ATB will incorporate new technology and operate as an unmanned unit. The essential systems and equipment will be controlled and monitored from a remote control and monitoring station on the tug by both hardwired and wireless connections, in compliance with classification requirements.