‘Q-LNG 4000’, a ship-to-ship articulated tug and LNG bunker barge (ATB), has arrived at Port Canaveral.
The purpose-built ATB was designed, engineered, and internationally and US certificated to provide ship-to-ship transfers of LNG as a fuel, especially to cruise ships.
She will operate in the port to provide LNG fuel to most notably Carnival Cruise Line’s LNG-powered ’Mardi Gras’, which will homeport at Port Canaveral this year.
“This project has been four years from concept to reality and we are excited to welcome the ‘Q-LNG 4000’ to fuel the next generation of cruise ships,” said Capt John Murray, Port CEO. “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 Co and Q-LNG Transport, recently arrived in Florida for a sailing and berthing familiarisation trials.
She docked at Port Canaveral’s newly constructed Cruise Terminal 3, which was completed in June, 2020 but has yet to welcome its first cruise passenger, due to the cruise sector’s global shutdown on the back of the COVID pandemic.
“LNG is the fuel of the future, it’s clean, less expensive and made right here in the US,” added Canaveral Port Authority Commission Chairman, RADM Wayne Justice (USCG-Ret). “We are proud to be part of making this safe secure move to the future in this region.”
The barge is 324 ft long, and the attached tug is 128 ft long. The US owned and operated vessel was constructed at VT Halter Marine shipyards in Pascagoula, Mississippi and is crewed by US seafarers.
She has an LNG carrying capacity of up to 4,000 cu m, which will be enough to fuel two cruise ships, each for a seven-day schedule.
The barge will load LNG from a fuel distribution facility on Elba Island, Ga, returning to Georgia to refuel after each LNG bunkering operation at Port Canaveral.
She is the first Jones Act compliant ATB to be built in the US specifically designed to conduct LNG cargo and bunker operations.
When the ATB is conducting ship-to-ship waterside cruise ship bunkering process, such as with the ‘Mardi Gras’, this will take place during the ship’s passenger debarking and embarking processes, similar to conventional refuelling operations, and will last for about six to eight hours per operation.
“We are proud to deliver the ‘Q-LNG 4000’ to Port Canaveral,” said Chad Verret, Q-LNG Transport President. “LNG is the marine fuel of the future, it’s domestically sourced and in abundant supply in the US. We look to supplying not only cruise ships but trading vessels in the future.”
The Canaveral Port Authority said it had been preparing for the arrival of LNG fuelled cruise vessels for four years. The port has been working closely with US federal and state regulatory and oversight authorities and agencies, and investing in infrastructure and personnel training to ensure the safety and security of the port and the surrounding community.
Fuelling operations will be supported in Port Canaveral by the port’s newly acquired fireboat, which arrived in January.