USCG issues LNG bunkering policy letters

Harvey Energy, North America's first LNG fueled PSV, being bunkered by truck Harvey Energy, North America's first LNG fueled PSV, being bunkered by truck

MARCH 17, 2015 — The U.S. Coast Guard has published two new policy letters on LNG Bunkering, Personnel Training and Waterfront Facilities. With regard to simultaneous operations (SIMOPS), the Coast Guard points to DNV GL's recommended practice for "Development and Operation of LNG Bunkering Facilities" for guidance.

As U.S. ports do not yet have LNG liquefaction and storage facilities, ships will initially have to rely on small-scale bunkering. This practice harbors certain risks that have not been addressed by U.S. legislation as of now, but that 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 work group document on systems and installations for supply of LNG as fuel to ships, which was released on January 15, 2015 as ISO standard PD ISO/TS 18683:2015 and builds on DNV GL's RP.

U.S. Coast Guard LNG expert Ken Smith, General Engineer at the Office of Vessels' and Facilities' Operating Standards, recently said: "DNV GL is already doing everything the USCG could hope for and more, and we recognize and appreciate the vast experience and in-depth expertise that DNV GL has when it comes to LNG as fuel, both here in the U.S. and internationally. The recommended practices and standards that you issue and the work you have done in other technical committees are helping to shape our policies and regulations in this area."

"The early phases are essential when performing risk assessment in the context of LNG bunkering," Tony Teo, DNV GL Technology and Business Director North America, explains. "They set the boundaries for risk acceptance, define the scope and lead either into a scenario-based or to a full quantitative risk assessment."

Simultaneous operations like loading/unloading of cargo or passenger movements at the terminal during bunkering operations require special attention.

"We recommend carrying out a full quantitative risk assessment with the aim to demonstrate that overall safety targets are met, evaluate and select safeguards and risk reducing measures and eventually confirm or develop safety zones," says Mr. Teo. "A quantitative or probabilistic risk assessment as against the consequence risk method is based on our 30 years data bank refined from the U.K. Health and Safety Executive."

Further information on LNG safety as well as DNV GL's full Recommended Practice for Development and Operation of LNG bunkering facilities can be found on the DNV GL website HERE

The USCG Policy Letters on Guidance for the Use of Liquefied Natural Gas as a Marine Fuel are available for download HERE

You can access ISO standard PD ISO/TS 18683:2015 (it costs $349) HERE

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