Crowley and Shell to build and charter Jones Act LNG bunker barge

Written by Nick Blenkey
Bunkering barge alongside containership

The barge is expected to be deployed to serve LNG-fueled ships that call on ports on the U.S. East Coast starting in 2024.

Crowley Maritime Corporation has signed a long-term time charter with Shell NA LNG, LLC, (“Shell”) providing for the building and operation of a new U.S.-built, LNG bunker barge. With a capacity of 12,000 cubic meters, it will be the largest Jones Act-compliant vessel of its kind.

It will be built at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., and will be the second LNG bunkering barge to be built at the shipyard, which is currently constructing a 5,400-cubic-meter unit for Polaris New Energy that is set for delivery later this year.

“This additional LNG barge will serve as another demonstration of our commitment to building and servicing sustainable maritime endeavors, both in the United States and globally,” said Dario Deste, president and CEO of Fincantieri Marine Group.

“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, Crowley Shipping. “Orders for ships fueled by liquefied natural gas continue to rise, and the vessel will provide Shell an innovative and reliable service to meet demands for more sustainable energy sources.”

The 416-foot-long barge will feature advanced technologies in cargo handling capabilities and increased transfer rates, including a state-of-the-art solution from Shell and Crowley Engineering Services to flexibly deliver LNG to various types of LNG containment systems. The design will offer capacity for 12,000 m3 (3.17 million gallons) and product supply equipment to fully serve ocean carriers.

The vessel becomes the second Jones Act-compliant bunker barge Shell has under long-term charter in the U.S. It is expected to be deployed to serve LNG-fueled ships that call on ports on the U.S. 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, general manager, Global DLNG for 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.”

Crowley says that, aligned with actions by its New Energy division in support of the company’s sustainability commitment, the expansion of LNG capacity will allow Crowley and its customers to realize more immediate emissions reductions and fast-track the transition to new energy sources that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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