The oil doldrums may have slowed the advance of liquefied natural gas for marine propulsion in 2016, but make no mistake — the U.S.-flagged LNG fleet is growing. Here is a look at developments in the past year:
• In October 2015, General Dynamics NASSCO delivered Isla Bella, the world’s first LNG-powered containership, to TOTE Maritime. In January, the San Diego yard followed with Perla del Caribe. Conrad Shipyard is building an LNG bunkering barge that will be based in Florida to supply both ships in the Puerto Rico trade.
•In May, Harvey Gulf International Marine delivered the 302-foot Harvey Liberty, which joined dual-fuel sisters Harvey Energy and Harvey Power in support of Shell’s deepwater operations in the Gulf of Mexico. The OSVs refuel at Harvey Gulf’s new LNG bunkering facility in Port Fourchon, La.
• Since December, NASSCO has delivered four LNG-conversion-ready tankers — three for American Petroleum Tankers (APT) and one for SEA-Vista — with four more on the way. The 610-foot ECO-class ships are designed for future dual-fuel propulsion.
• In August, Philly Shipyard delivered the 600-foot West Virginia, the last in a four-vessel series of LNG-ready tankers for Crowley Maritime. Philly also cut steel in January on the first of four 600-foot tankers for APT that will be built “with consideration for the use of LNG for propulsion in the future,” according to the shipyard.