Construction starts on largest-yet Jones Act LNG bunkering barge

Written by Nick Blenkey
Group at start of construction ceremony

First steel for 6,000 cu.m barge was cut January 6

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, Wis., has started construction of the largest-ever Jones Act LNG (liquefied natural gas) bunkering barge.

Crowley Maritime will operate the 12,000-cubic-meter barge under a long-term charter with Shell NA LNG LLC.

Dean Sahr, Crowley’s manager of new construction and LNG engineering, pushed the button on a state-of-the-art metal cutter to cut the first piece of steel in Sturgeon Bay on January 6. The vessel is designed by Crowley Engineering Services, the company’s naval architecture and marine engineering solutions group.

Set for completion in late 2023, the 413-foot vessel is the largest vessel of its kind thus far ordered in the U.S. and will be the second Jones Act compliant LNG bunker barge Shell has under charter.

Serving the U.S. East Coast, it will be used to help expand current LNG network capacity and meet demands for cleaner energy sources for ships.


“We congratulate the men and women of Bay Shipbuilding on the start of this innovative, landmark vessel that will help the maritime industry meet demand for cleaner operations with reduced emissions,” said Tucker Gilliam, vice president, Crowley Shipping. “In partnership with Shell, this vessel will expand the availability of LNG to vessels and help advance the transition to lower-emission fuels as the industry seeks to reduce emissions.”

“We are excited to get this project started, and equally pleased that it builds on our relationship with Crowley and Shell,” said Craig Perciavalle, vice president and general manager of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. “Our team is committed to giving our customers the best value, and we are happy to get started on this important project.”

“Shell is working hard to meet our customers’ growing needs with the energy solutions they are looking for,” said Tahir Faruqui, general manager, Global DLNG for Shell. “As we continue to expand our LNG bunkering network, we are excited to see work underway on this vessel, one which will support the shipping sector’s continued progress toward decarbonization.”

Dario Deste, the head of Fincantieri’s U.S. operations, reinforced the importance of this project and the role that Bay Shipbuilding has. “Our team at Bay has done a tremendous job of managing the build cycles of several large and important vessels during the pandemic,” said Deste. “Even with COVID-related supply chain challenges globally, we continue to meet our customers’ timelines. Delivering on schedule is a point of pride for Fincantieri.”

Barge alongside LNG-fueled containership
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