American regulators recommend vessel operators review safety procedures based on recent ‘near misses’ that have occurred during bunkering operations.
The US Coast Guard’s Liquefied Gas Carrier National Center of Expertise (NCOE) in Port Arthur, Texas, which issued the notice on 25 September, provided a list of eight recommendations that support existing policy. The recommendations are based on ‘lessons learned’ while observing LNG bunkering over the last several months, according to the agency.
The NCOE advised, among other things, that vessels engaged in LNG bunkering operations have Coast Guard-reviewed procedures for LNG operations similar to what is seen in a Safety Management System (SMS) prior to bunkering.
If LNG bunkering operations last longer than eight hours, the agency stated, a duty rotation should be developed to ensure personnel involved received appropriate rest.
In addition, all vessels engaged in LNG bunkering operations should have the ability to produce a historical record of all fuelling alarms and valve closure times, and the records should be available for inspection.
The NCOE also recommended that it be involved in initial pre-bunkering and bunkering processes to provide LNG expertise for the planning, set-up, and the actual operation.