Blog

April 18, 2019
LNG tanker ships: reliable, safe, and technologically advanced ships

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipping has been mastered and ongoing for more than 50 years. Over five decades, LNG tankers have made over 135,000 perfectly safe LNG deliveries to the four corners of the globe, many in some of the world’s busiest ports and waterways.

Throughout the 50 years of LNG tanker navigation, there have been no incidents involving any gas leaks whatsoever.

The current global LNG tanker fleet, numbering some 500 ships, is very modern. All LNG tankers are specifically designed for that purpose.

They are:

  • Double-hulled to prevent leaks
  • Equipped with insulated tanks
  • Equipped with state-of-the-art monitoring and technologically advanced devices
  • Crews are specially trained

In the Saguenay and St. Lawrence Rivers, experienced pilots from the Corporation des pilotes du Bas-St-Laurent will be at the controls. If needed, tugboat will assist LNG ships when maneuvering near the loading dock, providing maximum safety and efficiency.

Adapted LNG ships for Saguenay River navigation

For the Énergie Saguenay Project, the tankers carrying the locally produced LNG will be designed and built according to the specific navigation parameters of the Saguenay and St. Lawrence waterways. Since first deliveries are slated for 2025, the tankers will be either new or nearly new (two years or less). They will be specifically designed for winter navigation.

The GNL Québec team is already working closely with numerous experts, ship owners and builders here and abroad, to pinpoint what can be done to reduce the subaquatic noise and vibration emitted by these tankers. Such collaboration will result in the most efficient, most modern LNG tankers.

Respectful co-navigation… is possible! 

LNG tanker navigation in the Saguenay and St. Lawrence Rivers is perfectly safe. Our environmental impact study and international practice clearly demonstrate that there are no reasons why LNG tankers should not navigate in the Saguenay Fjord. Ship traffic in various fjords has been ongoing for a very long time; for example, tankers have been safely cruising Norway fjords for decades. LNG tankers can navigate the Panama Canal, and travel some of the world’s busiest ports and waterways, particularly in Europe and Asia.

Furthermore, many believe that when an LNG tanker is navigating the Saguenay River, no other ships can use the waterway at the same time; but in fact, there are no navigation restrictions or “safety perimeters” that could prevent any other ship from navigating in the vicinity of an LNG tanker. The only regulations that apply are those that normally govern commercial and recreational boating, for all boats on the river.

With the purpose of documenting and identifying best practices in terms of navigation, GNL Québec has voluntarily submitted to Transport Canada’s TERMPOL review process.

To learn more, click on this link: https://www.tc.gc.ca/media/documents/communications-eng/OPPFactsheet_TERMPOL_E_Final.pdf

The unique properties of LNG!

Liquefied natural gas has unique properties in terms of environmental protection and safety.

In the very unlikely event of a leak, LNG:

  • Is non-toxic
  • Is non-corrosive
  • Is colorless
  • Is odorless
  • Will not mix with water, air or soil
  • Will not explode
  • Has very low combustibility

To catch fire, LNG concentration in any given space has to be between 5% and 15% in the presence of an open flame, which conditions are highly improbable.

In the event of a leak, LNG would heat up instantly, leaving behind only a thin layer of ice caused by the cooled water vapors. Therefore, LNG shipping is asafe source of energy to transport.

Please write to us through our various platforms if you have any questions or comments.