Two independent ocean-going vessels, classed by France-based classification society Bureau Veritas (BV), have taken part in the world's first ship-to-ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering operation.

The bunkering operation was performed at the entrance to the port of Gothenburg in Sweden. It occurred when M/T Ternsund, owned by Denmark’s Terntank Rederi bunkered LNG from a small-scale LNG vessel, Coral Energy, owned by the Netherlands’ Antony Veder.

Coral Energy, with a 15,600m³ capacity, was built in 2013 and has been chartered by Skangas.

"The ship-to-ship bunkering between Ternsund and Coral Energy represents a significant milestone in the adoption of LNG as marine fuel."

Built under BV class at Avic Dingheng in China, Ternsund has a capacity of 15,000 dead-weight tonnage (dwt) and is the world's first LNG-fuelled newbuilding oil / chemical tanker.  

The vessel was delivered to Terntank at the end of June this year.

Bureau Veritas marine and offshore division technical director Jean-François Segretain said: "The ship-to-ship bunkering between Ternsund and Coral Energy represents a significant milestone in the adoption of LNG as marine fuel.

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“Bureau Veritas has facilitated this major step through our dedicated rules and active participation in development of new international guidelines that encourage the adoption of clean fuel and enhance designs for new clean vessels.

 “This first LNG ship-to-ship bunkering operation will soon be followed by other LNG ocean-going bunker vessels classed by Bureau Veritas. These include ENGIE bunker vessels operating from Zeebrugge, and a Sirius Veder Gas AB new bunker vessel under construction at Dutch shipyard Royal Bodewes."

Adopted as standard bunkering procedure to refuel ships, ship-to-ship bunkering is considered to be paving way for using LNG as a marine fuel.

The latest operation is the first of its kind where a cryogenic fuel has been ship-to-ship bunkered. It is speculated that compared to heavy fuel oil, LNG will help reduce emissions.

Using LNG as marine fuel will also help operators meet compliance with low emission regulation prevailing in Northern Europe and North America.

Image: Ship-to-ship LNG bunkering operation. Photo: courtesy of Port of Gothenburg.