Classification society ABS is set to class the North American west coast’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker barge, which is expected to commence operations in 2023.

Cryopeak LNG Solutions and Island Tug & Barge (ITB), a subsidiary of Tidewater Canada, have developed a design for the 4,000m² articulated tug and barge.

The design incorporates one of ITB’s tugs to deliver LNG as a fuel to shipping companies calling to ports on the west coast.

ABS Global Business Development senior vice-president John McDonald said: “No one understands better than ABS the potential for LNG to help shipping meet its sustainability goals.

“So, it is great to be able to support this project, which will further expand the availability of LNG along the west coast. We are proud to class the first LNG bunker vessel on the west coast.”

In partnership with ABS and Cryopeak, ITB will provide solutions to the LNG bunker market in western Canada and the US Pacific Northwest.

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ITB’s articulated tug and barge design will meet the standards for manoeuvrability and crew safety.

Cryopeak CEO Calum McClure said: “We are excited to have ABS as the classification society for this project. The marine industry is seeking solutions to enable the use of LNG as part of its journey to reduce emissions and lower fuel costs.

“This project delivers that and will enable vessels to adopt LNG as a cleaner alternative fuel.”

ABS North America Business Development vice-president Arinjit Roy said the company will be able to use the experience to support clients such as Cryopeak and ITB.

The company will continue to grow and expand services to the industry and clients based in Canada.