The following is text of a news release from VT Halter Marine:
(PASCAGOULA, Miss.) — VT Halter Marine Inc. on Thursday held a ceremony to commence construction on America’s first liquefied natural gas articulated tug-barge (LNG ATB) unit.
“We are honored to be able to celebrate the official start of construction on the first LNG bunkering ATB unit ever built. We believe that this is a significant step toward the USA becoming the premier supplier of LNG as the environmentally friendly maritime fuel source of choice,” said Rob Mullins, chief executive officer of VT Halter Marine.
In November, VT Halter Marine was awarded a contract by Q-LNG Transport to build the ATB LNG unit, which was announced as part of a long-term contract with Shell Trading (U.S.) Co., to deliver LNG as a fuel source to various ports in Florida and the Caribbean.
“I’m looking forward to developing a long-term relationship with VT Halter Marine and the ATB project is only the beginning. The cutting of this steel for America’s first LNG ATB bunkering vessel will pave the way for LNG to becoming the marine fuel of the future,” said Shane Guidry, chief executive officer of Q-LNG Transport.
The ATB tug will have 5,100 horsepower, GE 6L250 MDC EPA Tier 4 main engines with z-drives, and dimensions of 128 by 42 by 21 feet. The barge is designed to carry 4,000 cubic meters of LNG and will have dimensions of 324 by 64 by 32 feet.
The LNG ATB unit is designed to meet the requirements of American Bureau of Shipbuilding (ABS) and the International Gas Carrier (IGC) code as an LNG bunkering barge. Anticipated delivery of the first unit is in the first quarter of 2020.