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Crowley Maritime Corporation has signed a long-term time charter with Shell NA LNG for the construction and operation of a new, US-built, LNG bunker barge.

On completion, the barge will be the largest Jones Act-compliant vessel of its kind.

‘The new bunker barge will extend Crowley’s commitment to deliver cleaner, innovative solutions to help the shipping industry continue on the path to decarbonisation,’ said Tucker Gilliam, vice president, Crowley Shipping. ‘Orders for ships fuelled by liquefied natural gas continue to rise, and the vessel will provide Shell an innovative and reliable service to meet demands for more sustainable energy sources.’

According to Jacksonville-headquartered Crowley, the 416-foot-long barge will feature advanced technologies in cargo handling capabilities and increased transfer rates, including a ‘state-of-the-art solution’ from Shell and Crowley Engineering Services to flexibly deliver LNG to various types of LNG containment systems.

The design will offer capacity for 12,000 cubic metres (3.17 million gallons) and product supply equipment to serve ocean carriers.

The vessel will be the second Jones Act-compliant bunker barge Shell has under long-term charter in the US, following the Q-LNG 4000. It is expected to be deployed to serve LNG-fuelled ships that call on ports on the US East Coast starting in 2024.

‘Shell is dedicated to growing our LNG bunkering network across key trade routes, and this barge supports our commitment to helping provide our customers with the energy solution they are looking for,’ said Tahir Faruqui, general manager, Global DLNG for Shell.

‘The shipping sector is making progress toward decarbonisation, and LNG offers immediate emissions reduction with the potential to become a net zero emission marine fuel given the possible roles of bio-LNG and synthetic LNG.’

The vessel will be constructed at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

‘This additional LNG barge will serve as another demonstration of our commitment to building and servicing sustainable maritime endeavours, both in the United States and globally,’ said Dario Deste, president and CEO of Fincantieri Marine Group.

As previously reported, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding is poised to deliver a 5,400 cbm-capacity LNG barge for NorthStar Midstream later this year.

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