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Q-LNG Transport (Q-LNG) and Shell Trading (Shell) have announced that the LNG bunkering articulated tug and barge (ATB) newbuilding Q-LNG 4000 is now ‘ready for operations’.

The vessel, which has been designed to provide ship-to-ship transfers of LNG to LNG-fuelled vessels, as well as ship-to-shore transfers to small-scale marine distribution infrastructure, will operate along the Southeast US coast.

‘Shell has an ambition to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner, in step with society, and we are working hard to deliver the kind of solutions our customers need now to help them decarbonise,’ said Shell’s Karrie Trauth, General Manager for Shipping and Maritime, Americas.

Q-LNG 4000 becomes the second operational LNG bunker vessel in the US after the 2,200 cbm-capacity Clean Jacksonville, which entered service in 2018.

‘LNG is an important part of the solution today, and I’m proud that this vessel will effectively double the number of LNG bunker vessels in the US and mak[e] it possible for us to continue to help others accelerate their own transition,’ Trauth added.

As previously reported, Shell announced it had agreed a long-term charter with Q-LNG Transport for the 4,000 cbm-capacity ATB in November 2017. In the same month, it was announced that US shipyard VT Halter Marine had been contracted by Q-LNG to build the vessel.

A steel cutting ceremony for the vessel, which has been classed by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), was held in March 2018 and this was followed by a naming ceremony in September 2019.

The vessel was launched in October 2019 and received regulatory approval from the US Coast Guard for LNG bunkering early last year.

Commenting, Q-LNG CEO Shane Guidry said he was pleased to have taken delivery of the vessel and to begin the long-term service contract with Shell Trading.

‘All of my companies, including Q-LNG, are focussed on, and will continue to do our part to design, build and operate vessels that will assist with the quest to decarbonise,’ he said.

‘We look forward to delivering extremely safe and reliable service, as we have done for Shell all of my career,’ Guidry added.

As previously reported, in August 2018, Q-LNG announced it had signed a letter of intent (LOI) with VT Halter Marine for the construction of a second vessel with 8,000 cbm of LNG capacity.

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