The arrival of the Q-LNG 4000 ATB in Port Canaveral signals the start of LNG ship-to-ship transfers and ship-to-shore transfers to small-scale marine distribution infrastructure
The Q-LNG 4000 articulated tug and bunker barge (ATB) arrived at Port Canaveral on 1 March.
"Nicknamed ’Q4K’, the purpose-built ATB has been designed, engineered, and internationally and US certified to provide safe and reliable ship-to-ship transfers of cleaner-burning LNG" a statement from the port said.
Q4K will operate in Port Canaveral providing LNG fuel to cruise vessels, notably to Carnival Cruise Line’s LNG-powered Mardi Gras which will homeport at Port Canaveral from 2021.
“This project has been four years from concept to reality and we are excited to welcome Q-LNG 4000 to fuel the next generation of cruise ships,” Port Canaveral chief executive Capt John Murray said. “We have been working closely with our cruise partners, all the federal and state regulatory agencies, and industry leaders to promote this industry initiative.”
The barge, constructed in co-operation with LNG fuel supplier Shell Trading Company and Q-LNG Transport, arrived at Port Canaveral for sailing and berthing familiarisation exercises and was deemed ready for operations in January 2021. The vessel docked at Port Canaveral’s newly constructed Cruise Terminal 3, which was completed in June 2020 but has not yet welcomed its first cruise passenger, with the global shutdown of the cruise industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The barge is 98.8-m long, and its attached tug is 39.0-m long. The vessel was built at VT Halter Marine shipyards in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and is the first Jones Act-compliant ATB built in the US specifically designed to conduct LNG cargo and bunker operations.
When Q4K is conducting its ship-to-ship waterside bunkering process of a cruise vessel such as Carnival Mardi Gras, it will take place during the ship’s passenger debarking and embarking processes, like conventional refuelling operations, and will last approximately six to eight hours.
The barge will load LNG from a fuel distribution facility on Elba Island, Georgia, and return to Georgia to refuel after each LNG bunkering operation in Port Canaveral. Q4K has a carrying capacity of up to 4,000 m3 of LNG. Q-LNG 4000 will carry enough LNG to fill two cruise ships with enough fuel for a seven-day sailing, each.
Q-LNG 4000 fuelling operations will be supported while it is in Port Canaveral by the port’s newly acquired fireboat, which arrived in January. The purpose-built marine firefighting rescue vessel will be operated by Canaveral Fire Rescue to provide enhanced fire protection and response capabilities to serve the expanding maritime and commercial space industry operations at the port.