Offshore terminal operator pledges to employ U.S. mariners on LNG ships


This artist’s rendering shows a profile view of an LNG shuttle and re-gassification vessel moored to a submerged turret loading buoy at the proposed Florida deepwater port. Gas lines would transport the product to the shore facility. (Courtesy Port Dolphin Energy/Hill & Knowlton)

The operator of a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal to be built off the coast of Florida has pledged to employ some U.S. mariners on the foreign-flag ships that will use the terminal.

The Port Dolphin LNG facility would be located in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 28 miles southwest of Tampa Bay and connect to Florida’s pipeline system ashore. Construction of Port Dolphin is set to begin in 2011 with completion in 2013.

The pledge by Port Dolphin Energy LLC to employ U.S. mariners came in response to the U.S. Maritime Administration’s U.S. Crewing Initiative. In a letter to Deputy Maritime Administrator David T. Matsuda, Ragnar Wisloff, director of Port Dolphin Energy LLC, said his company would “endeavor to employ U.S. licensed or unlicensed mariners on Port Dolphin vessels serving the Port Dolphin deepwater port within three years of commencement of Port Dolphin operations.” He also said that the company will work toward having U.S. mariners — licensed and unlicensed – comprise a quarter of the crews of vessels serving Port Dolphin.

Wisloff also said that Port Dolphin would consider contributing to a trust fund for the training of American mariners in the LNG trade.

“It is our belief that the Port Dolphin deepwater port will not only provide the citizens of Florida with a much needed energy source, but will also help alleviate the growing worldwide shortage of professional and qualified mariners confronting the international LNG shipping industry to date,” Wisloff said. Jason Medina, a spokesman for Port Dolphin Energy, said he could not say exactly how many U.S. mariners would be employed on the LNG vessels, but pointed out that the company has already begun the recruiting for a terminal engineering manager with a degree in civil, marine transportation or mechanical engineering.

The project had been approved by the state of Florida, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Maritime Administration and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. When completed, it is expected to deliver about 400 million cubic feet of gas per day with a peak capacity of 1,200 million cubic feet per day.

John Snyder

By Professional Mariner Staff