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U.S. Issues Guidance on LNG Barge Design

LNG bunker Barge concept

By The Maritime Executive 04-16-2015 11:57:47

The U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Design and Engineering Standards has released CG-ENG Policy Letter 02-15 to provide interim guidance on the design of LNG barges.

As interest in the use of LNG as a maritime fuel has increased, the Coast Guard has been approached by a number of vessel designers and operators requesting specificity regarding the design and operation of barges carrying LNG in bulk. 

The policy recommends design details for these barges within the existing regulatory framework, and it consolidates guidance the Coast Guard has already given to industry personnel who are designing LNG barges.

Small-scale bunkering

Responding to the industry’s need for more guidance on procedures related to liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering, the Coast Guard published two new Policy Letters on LNG Bunkering, Personnel Training and Waterfront Facilities in March.

Since US ports do not have LNG liquefaction and storage facilities yet, ships will have to rely on small-scale bunkering for the time being. This practice harbors certain risks that had not been addressed by US legislation until now, but are covered in DNV GL’s Recommended Practice RP-0006: 2014-01 on the Development and Operation of LNG bunkering. 

In 2013, DNV GL developed the Recommended Practice to help facilitate the development of an international LNG infrastructure while waiting for the final release of the ISO 18683 workgroup document on systems and installations for supply of LNG as fuel to ships. It was released on 15 January 2015 and builds on DNV GL’s RP.

A first for Conrad

U.S.-based Conrad Industries announced in March that its subsidiary Conrad Orange Shipyard, has entered into a contract to build the first LNG bunker barge to be built for the marine market in North America. 

Conrad’s customer, WesPac Midstream, and its affiliate Clean Marine Energy, will deploy the barge in Tacoma, WA to service ship owner TOTE and its “Orca Class” vessels, then subsequently relocate the vessel to Jacksonville, FL to service the TOTE new build “Marlin Class” vessels as well as other LNG powered vessels in the Port of Jacksonville.

The vessel will be outfitted with GTT Mark III Flex cargo containment system, which will also be built by Conrad under a license from GTT. 

The barge delivery is scheduled for early 2016.

World’s first bunker barge

The world’s first LNG hybrid barge by Becker Marine Systems was christened last year 2014 in Hamburg. The barge will service AIDA cruise vessels while they are berthed in the Port of Hamburg.

Compared to the use of conventional marine diesel with 0.1 percent sulfur content, no sulfur oxides and no soot particles are emitted with LNG. Nitrogen oxide emissions will be reduced by up to 80 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent.