Crowley Maritime Corp. has ordered a new LNG bunkering barge to operate on the US East Coast and has signed a long-term time charter with Royal Dutch Shell.
On completion the US-built LNG bunker barge will be the largest Jones Act-compliant vessel of its kind, helping to expand current network capacity and meet demands for cleaner energy for ships calling at US ports.
The LNG fuelling barge will be built at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, located at Sturgeon Bay in the US state of Wisconsin.
“The new bunker barge will extend Crowley’s commitment to deliver cleaner, innovative solutions to help the shipping industry continue on the path to decarbonization,” said Tucker Gilliam, Vice President of Crowley Shipping.
“Orders for ships fuelled by LNG continue to rise and the vessel will provide Shell with an innovative and reliable service to meet demands for more sustainable energy sources,” added Gilliam.
The 416-foot-long barge will feature advanced technologies in cargo-handling capabilities and increased transfer rates, including a bunkering solution from Shell and Crowley Engineering Services for the flexible delivery of LNG to various types of LNG containment systems.
Crowley said the barge design would offer capacity of 12,000 cubic metres of LNG, the equivalent of 3.17 million gallons, and supply equipment to supply the growing LNG-powered fleet.
The US company noted that the vessel becomes the second Jones Act-compliant bunker barge Shell has under long-term charter in the US.
It is expected to be deployed to serve LNG-fuelled ships that call at ports on the US East Coast starting in 2024.
“Shell is dedicated to growing our LNG bunkering network across key trade routes, and this barge supports our commitment to helping provide our customers with the energy solution they are looking for,” said Tahir Faruqui, a general manager for Global LNG at Shell.
“The shipping sector is making progress toward decarbonization, and LNG offers immediate emissions reduction with the potential to become a net zero emission marine fuel given the possible roles of bio-LNG and synthetic LNG,” added Faruqui.
Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding said the northern Midwest yard was delighted to take up the order.
“This additional LNG barge will serve as another demonstration of our commitment to building and servicing sustainable maritime endeavours, both in the United States and globally,” said Dario Deste, President and Chief Executive of Fincantieri Marine Group.