Teekay LNG carrier awaits engine restart off US

Thursday, 14 February 2008

The US Coast Guard said the technicians sent by the shipowner continued to make progress towards restoring propulsion on the 138,000 cubic metres capacity carrier.

The vessel was on a regular delivery run from the Atlantic LNG production plant in Trinidad to Everett LNG import terminal, near Boston, when its engines failed. The carrier was left drifting in heavy weather before being brought under control by tugs.

The Coast Guard cutter “Escanaba” remained with the “Catalunya Spirit”, enforcing a safety zone around the tanker. “The vessel has not suffered any structural damage or released any product,” the latest statement said.

The carrier’s engine repairs were being overseen by the authorities. The work being done on the “Catalunya Spirit” will have to be certified and approved by the Captain of the Port of Boston prior to any future deliveries by the ship to Boston Harbor, the Coast Guard said.

Every LNG carrier that enters the Boston undergoes an extensive pre-arrival check by a Coast Guard marine inspector. State, local and Coast Guard security boats meet the ships at the harbor entrance and ensure safe passage to the LNG terminal in Everett.

The “Catalunya Spirit” has 29 crewmen on board and a full cargo. Media in the US are giving the event much attention because of public perceptions stoked by the LNG industry's opponents about the safety of LNG marine transportation and security concerns.

The vessel is one of the industry’s newest and has been in service since March 2003.