VT Halter and Q-LNG Conduct Naming Ceremony for LNG Bunkering Barge

Courtesy Glenn McCullough Jr. / Mississippi Development Authority

Published Oct 1, 2019 12:54 PM by The Maritime Executive

Celebrating shipbuilders and protecting our nation were the main messages as VT Halter Marine, Inc. (VT Halter Marine), a company of ST Engineering North America, conducted a vessel naming ceremony for America’s first offshore Liquefied Natural Gas Articulated Tug and Barge (LNG ATB) unit.

The Q-LNG 4000 (barge) and the Q-Ocean Services (tug) were officially named in a ceremony that included U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, along with Shane Guidry, CEO of Q-LNG, and Tom Vecchiolla, President and CEO of ST Engineering North America.

“I have two reasons to be here today – these are the best shipbuilders on earth,” Palazzo said. “In this yard -- in Jackson County, Mississippi – you build the best ships. I know what these ship builders, pipe fitters and electricians can do.

“My second reason is to stand up for the Jones Act. Ships must be built in America, owned by an American company, crewed by Americans under an American flag. That’s why we come here.”

Over the last four years, Jones Act ship operators have taken steps to transition their fleets to use cleaner burning fuels, including LNG. By designing and constructing the Q-LNG 4000, VT Halter Marine is on the cutting edge of technology. This barge is designed to provide ship-to-ship transfers of LNG to vessels that use LNG as a fuel source and also ship-to-shore transfers to small scale marine distribution infrastructure in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and abroad.

“This vessel is good for the environment because it replaces diesel fuel with clean natural gas,” Wicker said. “This is part of protecting the environment. We have energy independence here in America. We can supply the rest of the world with the energy that is produced here.”

LNG bunkering is also advancing in other parts of the world, and the European Union is an early adopter, Baczkowski said.

“LNG fuel may be cheaper in the long run than conventional fuels, but LNG bunkering requires specialized infrastructure for supply, storage and delivery to vessels,” Baczkowski said. “The Q-LNG 4000 is the first American offshore LNG bunkering barge, and the talented employees of VT Halter Marine constructed it here in Pascagoula.”

Hyde-Smith commented on the quality, dependability and pride she sees at the VT Halter Marine shipyard.

“When I am in DC, I always say, ‘Let me tell you about the fabulous shipbuilders on the Mississippi Gulf.’ You are a key part of our national defense,” Hyde-Smith said. “I am confident of the quality of work that comes out of VT Halter Marine, such as this Q-LNG barge and the Polar Security Cutter that you are working on now. You give us plenty to brag about in Washington D.C.”

The ATB tug will have 5,100 horsepower, GE 6L250 MDC EPA Tier 4 main engines, with Wartsila Z-drives, and dimensions of 128’ x 42’ x 21’. The barge is designed to carry 4,000 cubic meters of LNG, and will have dimensions of 324’ x 64’ x 32’.6”.

The LNG ATB Unit is designed to meet the requirements of American Bureau of Shipbuilding and the International Gas Carrier code as an LNG bunkering barge.

Anticipated delivery of the first unit is in the first quarter of 2020. 

“No other company has an ATB this close to delivery,” said Shane J Guidry, Chief Executive Officer of Q-LNG Transport. “Q-LNG is focused and dedicated to deliver extremely safe transit to all the ports it will service, and we are committed to being a leader in the development of LNG infrastructure in the United States and abroad.”

In November 2017, VT Halter Marine was awarded a contract by Q-LNG Transport to build the ATB LNG unit, which was announced as part of a long-term contract with Shell Trading (U.S.) Company, to deliver LNG as a fuel source to various ports in Florida and the Caribbean. It will bunker Carnival Cruise Line’s two new dual-fuel ships and two dual-fuel Siem Car Carrier pure car truck carriers chartered by the Volkswagen Group to transport vehicles from Europe to North America.

Vecchiolla said that the employees of VT Halter Marine directly contribute to our national energy needs and our national security

“The significance of this vessel is that the shipbuilders of VT Halter Marine are delivering the next major development of the infrastructure for the cruise and commercial ship industries as they advance to cleaner and more efficient fuels,” Vecchiolla said. “These professional and dedicated have put their hearts and souls into building a vessel that will contribute to our nation for decades to come.”

The products and services herein described in this press release are not endorsed by The Maritime Executive.