The United States Coast Guard’s Liquefied Gas Carrier National Center of Expertise (LGC NCOE) recently issued a cautionary memorandum based on observations of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering procedures taking place in various parts of the U.S. According to the introductory statement there is much to learn as the country embraces this cleaner cheaper fuel for marine operations.
“The LGC NCOE has witnessed several LNG bunkering operations over the last few months and seen common errors/failures, some that have resulted in the release of LNG and/or near misses, but also others that have gone very well. It is critically important for all parties involved to fully understand the risks that are presented when transferring LNG. While LNG can be handled safely, its cryogenic, asphyxiant, and flammability hazards must be recognized and mitigated in order to avoid serious personnel injury, vessel damage, and/or other harmful effects. This LGC NCOE Field Notice augments references (a) and (b) and shares the following recommendations based off best practices and lessons learned observed during recent LNG bunkering operations in order to prevent future incidents,” writes LGC NCOE Commander Jason Smith.
Amongst the several recommendations put forward are the importance of having Coast Guard reviewed procedures, traing for handlers and refuelers of LNG that includes familiarisation with vessel-specific systems, appropriate duty rotations and auditable record keeping.
Smith adds, “The LGC NCOE should be involved in initial pre-bunkering and bunkering processes to provide LNG expertise for the planning, setup, and the actual operation.”
The full text of the Memorandum — LGC NCOE Field Notice 1/2015, ref. 16711/15-009 — is available for download as a pdf file from the USCG website.