Ports and Harbours Group Advances the Cause of LNG as Fuel for Cruise, Cargo and Container Ships

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Posted December 6, 2018

The International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), a not-for-profit global alliance of roughly 170 ports and 140 maritime companies and institutes, met in London recently at its at the LNG Ship/Shore Conference and saw the product of an IAPH Clean Marine Fuels Working Group which has developed an LNG bunkering audit tool, already being used to licence operations at Port of Rotterdam.

Having established its World Ports Sustainability Program in May last year the IAPH intends to concentrate on five main areas of collaboration between its member ports: resilient infrastructure, climate and energy, safety and security, community outreach and port-city dialogue, governance and ethics, and the adoption of cleaner fuels, such as LNG, is a priority.

France is certainly in the vanguard of this sector with the EU-funded ‘Green Loop’ programme in which Dunkerque LNG aims to participate with TOTAL in LNG bunkering operations at the port together with vessel owner MOL, to serve the fleet of newbuild CMA-CGM dual-fuel Ultra-Large Container Vessels currently under construction for delivery between 2018 and 2020. This information came from a presentation from Dunkerque LNG which provided an overview of its port infrastructure to meet up to 13 BCM (billion cubic metres) of LNG import demand into France and Belgium, as well as providing full LNG ship bunkering operations.

Whilst most of the world’s 118 LNG-powered vessels currently operate in the Baltic Sea, Dunkerque LNG’s Cécile Grégoire-David predicted that the majority of the world’s 128 LNG fuel-enabled newbuilds currently on order would call at European destinations. This could translate into a future potential of up to 50 LNG bunker operations per year at the Port of Dunkirk by 2025.

Following the Dunkerque LNG presentation, Cees Boon, who is safety advisor at the Port of Rotterdam Authority, gave an overview on LNG onshore and ship-to-ship bunkering facilities which have been licensed and already operational. He also explained the entire procedure for licensing and how LNG ship-to-ship bunkering during simultaneous operations (SIMOPS) is possible and permitted alongside terminals at the Port of Rotterdam, as long as it is safe and controlled.

By following a systematic and highly detailed process of checks on both LNG bunkering vessels and the operator, the IAPH Audit tool was found to be a very useful and efficient way of pre-qualifying an applicant before entering into the full process of HAZID/HAZOP risk assessment, location, mooring, simultaneous operations and external risk assessments. Boon commented:

"We found that by having operators answer a detailed list of questions from the IAPH audit tool, we could offer concrete observations as constructive feedback as to how they measured up to industry best practices at an early stage. This also allows operators and vessel owners to build these into their safety management systems prior to the main nautical and external safety studies taking place on location.

"Once a license has been granted to a bunker operator and vessel owner, the result of the IAPH LNG audit tool can also be shared with other port authorities receiving applications from the same parties. With the previous example in this afternoon's session, the IAPH tool could in theory be used to assess the same operator and LNG bunker vessel owner across several ports"

Source: Handy Shipping Guide