Wisconsin-based Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding has contracted Wärtsilä to supply an LNG cargo handling system for a new 5,400-m3 LNG bunker barge being built for NorthStar Midstream, another critical piece of the growing LNG bunkering infrastructure in the US
Part of an articulated tug barge (ATB) unit, the barge is being built in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin and will be operated by NorthStar Midstream’s marine transportation company Polaris New Energy (PNE).
“This project represents one more strategically important step in the development of a viable LNG supply infrastructure for marine applications. Wärtsilä, with its vast experience and deep know-how in LNG fuel solutions, continues to play a key role in this process,” said Wärtsilä general manager marine sales for the US and Canada, Mark Keneford.
“LNG is undoubtedly becoming fast established as a sustainable fuel option to reduce shipping’s environmental footprint,” said Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding vice president and general manager Todd Thayse. “That’s why LNG solutions are of strategic interest to our organisation. Selecting Wärtsilä to supply the cargo handling system helps mitigate risk and assures the success of this latest project.”
NorthStar Midstream holds options to build two additional LNG bunker barges with Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding.
Being built to ABS class, the bunker barge will deliver fuel to both oceangoing and inland waterway LNG-fuelled vessels. Initially, plans called for the ATB to be based on Florida’s Atlantic coast. The 103.5-m barge will have a beam of 20.1 m and will use a coupler system to connect to a suitable tug as an ATB unit once completed in mid-2021.
Polaris New Energy will source LNG from JAX LNG, a small-scale LNG production facility in Jacksonville, Florida, created through a partnership between NorthStar and Pivotal LNG.
Wärtsilä’s scope of supply includes the system design and integration, four 1,350-m3 IMO Type C tanks, LNG pumps, a ship-to-ship transfer system, all necessary safety and control equipment, the valves and instrumentation, and the gas combustion unit. Deliveries to the yard are scheduled to commence in October 2020.
NorthStar Midstream’s LNG bunker barge is one of two oceangoing ATBs currently on order in the US. A naming ceremony for Q-LNG 4000, an LNG bunker ATB under construction at VT Halter Marine in Pascagoula, Mississippi, was held on 16 September. Destined to operate under a long-term charter from Shell Trading (US), Q-LNG 4000 will be launched in October 2019, with delivery set for Q1 2020. Shell has chartered the 4,000-m3 ATB to bunker Carnival Cruise Line’s two new 180,000-gt dual-fuel ships and two dual-fuel Siem Car Carrier pure car truck carriers chartered by the Volkswagen Group to transport vehicles from Europe to North America.
Owner Q-LNG LLC has a letter of intent to build a second, 8,000-m3 capacity LNG bunker ATB unit with VT Halter Marine.
US-based Crowley Maritime, which operates two dual-fuel container, roll-on roll-off vessels from Jacksonville to San Juan, is also in the market for an LNG bunker ATB. It has issued a request for proposals with US shipyards to build a 5,000-m3 LNG bunker ATB.
Tote owns Clean Jacksonville, the first inland LNG bunker barge built in the US, which serves two LNG-fuelled container ships that operate out of Jacksonville in Jones Act service to San Juan, Puerto Rico.