A year-long collaboration among Coast Guard experts has produced a recommended checklist for inspecting fuel systems on LNG-fueled vessels, and a similar document to help ensure safe vessel-to-vessel bunkering operations is on the way.

The six-page checklist covers everything from bunkering manifold valves to protective equipment for the crew. Developed by a committee of some 40 members, including Coast Guard LNG facility and marine inspectors and gas carrier examiners from Gulf and Pacific coast sectors, the checklist was one of the first priorities set by the service’s Liquefied Gas Carrier center based at Port Arthur, Texas.

Field Notice 02-16 augments existing policy with a recommended checklist specific for LNG-fueled vessels. Described as a “job aid” for inspectors, the checklist was tested onboard U.S. LNG-fueled vessels by local Coast Guard units. It can be used initial and annual inspections, and Periodic Safety Test Procedures (PSTPs) of LNG fuel systems on domestic vessels.

With major commitments to LNG fuel from Harvey Gulf International Marine and other industry players, the Coast Guard has moved fast to keep on top of the trend.

The Coast Guard’s LNG Fuel Workforce Development Committee is “is utilizing their collective experience, case studies, and tools from industry and other government agencies around the globe to identify nationally consistent workforce development recommendations for LNG fueling and LNG bunkering operations throughout the US,” wrote Cmdr. Jason Smith, chief of the LNG center at Port Arthur, in a Thursday email accompanying the new inspection checklist. “The committee is currently developing a LNG Bunkering Job Aid for vessel to vessel LNG bunkering operations and a LNG as a fuel per-commissioning checklist.”

Both should be released within the next few months, Smith said.

Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Hillenbrand, who led development of the fuel workforce development documents, is transferring this summer, and Scott Mercurio will be taking his place as the center’s LNG marine fuel specialist. Comments or questions about the inspection documents can be sent to Mercurio via email.

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.