ABS supports LNG transport in tank barges with Guidance for remote-controlled monitored systems

Aditya Aggarwal's picture
Aditya Aggarwal, Director, ABS Global Gas Solutions
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Stricter sulphur emissions limits for ships has resulted in increased popularity of gas as fuel for shipowners looking to comply with environmental regulations within Emission Control Areas. Additionally, floating gas-to-power units promise to fill the gap between energy demand and the supply of clean and economical fuel. New small scale LNG vessels are key to help expand the LNG supply chain and advance adoption of LNG as fuel in the US.

Tank barge transportation has traditionally been popular in the US and barged solutions are now emerging also for the transportation and regasification of LNG. Historically unmanned tank barges have not been fitted with essential safety systems and evaluated completely independently from that of the associated towing vessel.

The carriage of liquefied gas, such as LNG, requires active boil off gas monitoring and management - both considered essential systems. 

The unmanned liquefied gas tank barge industry is now challenged with the operation of essential systems by remote means from a manned location. The maritime industry is familiar with unattended machinery spaces on self-propelled vessels that remotely control and monitor essential machinery and safety systems from either a centralized control room or the navigation bridge onboard the same vessel.

Unmanned liquefied gas tank barges fitted with essential systems need a means for remote control and monitoring of essential cargo management systems and equipment from the associated manned towing vessel or possibly manned facility.

To support this industry need, ABS has released The Guide for Building and Classing Liquefied Gas Tank Barges with Remote Control and Monitoring of Essential Systems, to provide guidance to assist shipyards and barge operators in the requirements for the design and construction of barges equipped with various degrees of automation, remote control and monitoring of essential systems supporting cargo management. 

The Guide describes the characteristics and different liquefied gas tank barge configurations and description of systems and equipment that may be considered essential. An overview is provided of how the Guide assists with addressing the challenges associated with an unmanned liquefied gas tank barge.

“ABS is focused on developing practical guidance and solutions that respond to the challenges faced by owners and operators while ushering in new concepts and advancing the latest technologies,” says Patrick Janssens, Vice President, ABS Global Gas Solutions.

The Guide is intended to be used in conjunction with the ABS Rules for Building and Classing Steel Barges, ABS Rules for Building and Classing Marine Vessels and the ABS Rules for Building and Classing Steel Vessels for Service on Rivers and Intracoastal Waterways.

ABS has gained a reputation for pioneering technical work that has supported innovation in gas transport. For more than 50 years, we have classed LPG and LNG carriers – including the first conversion of a cargo vessel to carry LPG, the first purpose-built LNG carrier and the first Very Large Ethane Carrier (VLEC). ABS classes nearly one-quarter of the existing LNG carrier fleet and has the largest orderbook, with more than 30 percent of newbuild LNG vessels slated for ABS class.

The changing nature of demands for LNG as fuel was the impetus for a study on Bunkering of LNG Fuelled vessels in North America, preceding the development of the ABS Guide for LNG Bunker Vessels, which covers design, construction and survey for all types of LNG bunker vessels.

ABS provides industry leadership, offering guidance in LNG floating structures and systems, gas fuel systems and equipment, gas carriers, and regulatory and statutory requirements. ABS also offers specification reviews, risk and hazard assessments, bunkering suitability reviews, project management for new construction and feasibility studies.

To read more unique industry content focusing on the gas and LNG shipping industry, why not take a look at the articles on the right-hand side of your screen under 'Related Content' 

ABS, a leading global provider of classification and technical advisory services to the marine and offshore industries is an Associate sponsor at Gastech 2019 in Houston.

Register to attend the conference now to hear more great insights into the LNG shipping market, including from ABS' Director - Global Gas Solutions, Aditya Aggarwal in the technical session T1.3 Shipping on Wednesday 18th September.