SIGTTO remains engaged with industry through virtual meetings, exploring new topics such as carbon capture and liquefied hydrogen shipping
Face-to-face meetings, regional forums, panel sessions and technical committees represent a large part of SIGTTO’s engagement with its membership. During the pandemic, this engagement has continued through a series of member webinars. On 15 April, SIGTTO hosted our first ever virtual panel meeting with a very interesting and exciting agenda, including the Panama Canal Authority presenting on the lessons learnt from over four years of large gas carrier transits through the new locks and MOL discussing its gas-to-power projects.
Over 300 members registered for this event and we have received a lot of positive feedback. The platform allowed members to network with each other and to view the presentations “on demand” in case they wished to review or missed the live stream. Of the 10 presentations, three were, unsurprisingly, regarding decarbonisation and the carriage of non-hydrocarbon gases as cargo.
As the energy transition kicks into high gear, new markets and technologies will be required to control emissions. As well as new energy streams that will require shipping there will also be waste products to trade and ships for sequestration.
Hystra and Shell presented on the world’s first ever liquefied hydrogen tanker under construction in Japan, detailing the design and operation of Suiso Frontier.
Bureau Veritas’ Carlos Guerrero presented on the challenges of decarbonisation for the gas carrier fleet and the readiness of the fleet for the reduction of CO2 emissions over the next two to three decades.
“This year marks the 90th anniversary of LPG shipping”
It is well known in the industry that LNG shipping is over 50 years old, with the first commercial cargo being discharged by Methane Princess at Canvey Island in the UK in October 1964. Many readers of this column will recall the Livorno panel meeting in 2014 which celebrated this achievement.
What is less known, however, is that this year marks the 90th anniversary of LPG shipping. The first LPG carrier was the MV Agnita which was delivered in 1931. Built with 12 large cylindrical pressure vessel tanks made from 24-mm thick boiler plate, the vessel had a colourful history; it was attacked by aircraft at the beginning of the second world war and later in the war became the only gas ship to be sunk in the conflict. On 22 March 1941, MV Agnita was found by surface raider Kormoran while on passage from Sierra Leone to Venezuela. When the firepower of the German Navy ship became clear, the master of Agnita, Captain Stanley Algar, surrendered immediately. All the crew survived without injury and were rescued. Agnita was sunk. Captain Algar remained a prisoner of war until he was released by the Welsh Guards in 1945.
The resilience of the LNG industry remains astounding in the face of the pandemic. This is apparent in the recently published GIIGNL annual report, which showed LNG imports reaching 356.1 MT (+0.4%) in 2020, despite the impact of the pandemic. LNG vessels have continued to trade despite these most challenging of circumstances.