Largest Jones Act Bunker Barge Expands LNG Services for JAXPORT
Efforts to continue to build out the LNG infrastructure to support shipping along the U.S. southeast coast took another step forward with the first barge-to-ship cool down performed in the United States. The new operation was also part of the introduction of the largest Jones Act LNG bunker barge. It is an expansion of the LNG service being provided from JAX LNG by Polaris New Energy, a company set up by NorthStar Midstream in 2019 for LNG transportation in the Jones Act trade.
The bunkering operation was carried out by the new liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker barge, the Clean Canaveral. The vessel operates as an articulated tug barge unit (ATB). Ordered in 2019 and completed last December, the Clear Canaveral was built by Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding as the first of two barges for the LNG business. The barge has a capacity of 5,500 cubic meters with the LNG cargo storage and handling system developed by Wärtsilä. The barge is owned by Polaris New Energy, a subsidiary of Seaside LNG Holdings, and is being operated by McAllister Towing.
Last week, the LNG was loaded onto the Clean Canaveral at the Jacksonville dock of JAX LNG. The Clean Canaveral then transferred approximately 600 metric tons of LNG to cool down and bunker the tanker Eagle Brasilia, owned by AET. The 113,400 dwt tanker registered in Singapore departed Jacksonville on March 23.
“As expected, the Clean Canaveral performed very well during the bunkering process,” said Tom Sullivan, Senior Vice President of Operations for Seaside. “In addition, the working relationship between AET, its ship-manager, Eaglestar, and the crew on the ATB was key to the safe transfer of LNG. We greatly appreciate AET’s confidence in our ability to safely conduct this inaugural bunkering.”
According to the companies, with the addition of the Clean Canaveral, JAX LNG will be able to significantly increase the deliverability of LNG to the maritime industry in the southeastern United States.
JAX LNG opened for business in May 2019, and it has the capacity to produce about 120,000 gallons of LNG per day, enough to fill the barge in about eleven days. Onsite storage tanks can accommodate up to two million gallons of product. The site is large enough to add two more liquefaction trains if expansion is needed, which would allow it to produce as much as 600,000 gallons per day.
Jacksonville is growing as a major terminal location to supply LNG to a broad range of vessels. A year ago in February 2021, JAX LNG and TOTE Services completed their first ship-to-ship LNG bunkering of a foreign-flagged vessel, vehicle carrier, Siem Confucius, at JAXPORT’s Blount Island Marine Terminal. This year, in February Eagle LNG fueled the 7,500-car carrier Siem Aristotle from its Talleyrand LNG Bunker Station at the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) in Jacksonville, Florida. It was the first time SIEM has refueled the vessel from a landside bunkering facility and the first ship that Eagle LNG refueled of that size from the bunkering facility.
Eric Green, JAXPORT Chief Executive Officer noted in February that these milestones are another evolution in the growth of Jacksonville’s LNG capabilities. He noted the strategy is to establish JAXPORT as a vital LNG bunkering hub as additional LNG bunkering options develop while creating an anchor port for other locations along the U.S. East Coast.