Proceedings Spring 2016
need will create new operations in almost every port. As
these predictions unfold, new challenges will surface that
the industry, trade organizations, and regulators will need
to consider. If this aspect of the industry expects to emulate
the excellent safety record of liquefed gas carriers, it must
hold itself to the same safety culture standards.
It will be paramount that the industry as a whole — from
large-scale liquefed gas carriers to small LNG-fueled harbor
tugs — ensures its focus on all aspects of safety, an adequate
supply of properly trained and competent personnel, and
the process of continuously assessing safety procedures.
Maintaining this "gold standard" safety culture across the
industry will be similarly paramount to consistently ensure
the safe maritime transportation and use of liquefed gas.
About the author:
CDR Jason Smith is the detachment chief for the U.S. Coast Guard's Lique-
fed Gas Carrier National Center of Expertise located in Port Arthur, Texas,
where he supervises a team of liquefed gas subject matter experts who pro-
vide technical advice to both the industry and the Coast Guard, increasing
and maintaining the Coast Guard's collective competency and capacity to
professionally engage with the liquefed gas industry.
International Code for the Construction of Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefed
Gases in Bulk (IGC Code), 1993 Edition.
K. Lumbers, "Gas matters: A focus on some of the issues surrounding gas tanker
feets in the P&I world." Retrieved September 1, 2015, from UK P&I Club, found at
Global Security, July 7, 2011. Retrieved September 1, 2015, from LNG Tanker Safety,
found at www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/tanker-lng-safety.htm.
S. Mokhatab, J.Y. Mak, J.V. Valappil, and D.A. Wood, Handbook of Liquefed Natu-
ral Gas, 2014. Oxford: Gulf Professional Publishing.
"Carnival Orders World's First LNG-powered Cruise Ships," June 15, 2015.
Retrieved September 1, 2015, from Maritime Executive, found at http://maritime-
"Intrepid to Debut Natural Gas Hybrid Boat In Fort Lauderdale," October 21, 2014.
Retrieved September 1, 2015, from Boating Magazine, found at www.boatingmag.
The four policy letters are as follows:
CG-521 Policy Letter No 01-12 - Equivalency Determination - Design Criteria for
Natural Gas Fuel Systems, US incorporation of Interim IGF Code plus additional
design criteria for US vessels, found at https://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg521/
CG-OES Policy Letter No 01-15 - Guidelines for Liquefed Natural Gas Fuel
Transfer Operations and Training of Personnel on Vessels Using Natural Gas
as Fuel, Operational criteria for LNG fueled vessels plus training expectations,
found at www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/lgcncoe/docs/LNGF%20Policy%20LTR.pdf.
CG-OES Policy Letter No. 02-15 - Guidance Related to Vessels and Waterfront
Facilities Conducting Liquefed Natural Gas (LNG) Marine Fuel Transfer (Bun-
kering) Operations, Operational criteria for LNG bunkering facilities (127 regs
tailored for bunkering only facilities), found at www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/lgcncoe/
CG-ENG Policy Letter No 02-15 - Design Standards for US Barges Intending to
Carry Liquefed Natural Gas in Bulk, US criteria for LNG barges (154 regs tai-
lored for barges), found at https://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg521/docs/CG-ENG.
International Maritime Organization, June 26, 2015. Retrieved September 1, 2015,
from Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), 95th session, 3–12 June 2015, found at
In early 2015, the Coast Guard certifcated the frst U.S.-
fagged, LNG-fueled commercial vessel. At the time they
were inspecting the construction and certification of
11 more, from container ships to offshore supply vessels.
Additionally, there were 144 confrmed LNG-fueled ves-
sels either on order or under construction globally — adding
ferries, bulkers, tankships, and towing vessels to the mix.
Even cruise ship operators were jumping in, with Carnival
Corporation recently constructing four of the world's largest
cruise ships, each LNG-powered, carrying 6,600 passen-
In another example, a recreational boat builder began
advertising a series of 12 LNG-fueled outboard yachts in
As these new vessels come online, dependence on LNG
fueling operations will follow right behind. Indeed, LNG
bunkering services are already beginning to appear in ports
around the world. While these vessels and fueling opera-
tions currently seem to be mirroring the safety culture found
throughout the liquefed gas carrier industry, some wonder
if the fueling operations will keep the same approach in the
long run. As fueling operations become more abundant,
competition will ensue, which may put fnancial pressure
on operators — some relatively small-scale, with less back-
ing than the liquefed gas carrier industry. As more and
more operators enter the market and the pool becomes more
diverse, some may no longer value or even recognize the
unique hazards these new fuels present until it's too late.
Finally, what was once an industry of purpose-built lique-
fed gas carriers designed for specifc facilities will soon
welcome multipurpose vessels that need to go wherever and
whenever. Each of the concerns mentioned increases the risk
of incident for the industry as a whole. To help ensure there's
guidance out there for vessel and fueling operators, organi-
zations such as the Society For Gas as a Marine Fuel have
recently been established to promote safety and industry
best practices in the use of gas as a marine fuel.
Additionally, the Coast Guard has released four policy let-
associated with LNG-fueled vessels and associated
bunkering operations, and the IMO recently adopted the
frst-ever International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases
or other Low-fashpoint Fuels to minimize risk to a ship, its
crew, and the environment.
As stricter emissions regulations and cost benefts make
LNG an obvious choice, the U.S. will see more and more use
of these types of maritime fuels, and the associated bun-
kering services to support this new domestic and foreign