Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding has been awarded a contract from PNE Marine Holdings, an affiliate of Polaris New Energy, to build a second 5,500-cu.-meter LNG bunker barge.

The new 340'x66'x32'10" ATB barge will be a sister vessel to the LNG bunker barge Clean Canaveral, which is expected to be delivered to Polaris in mid-November.

Bay Shipbuilding is the main commercial business unit of Fincantieri Marine Group in the U.S. “Our team at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding is once-again showing why they are the U.S. market reference point for LNG bunkering vessels,” FMG president and CEO, Dario Deste, said in a statement.

Demand for LNG fueling in the maritime sector is growing rapidly. Over the next several years 400 new vessels utilizing LNG are expected in service, the companies said. LNG is the leading solution to fuel the maritime sector as the industry advances its sustainability goals through a transition to lower carbon fuels. The new ATB adds to Northstar Holdco Energy's growing fleet that delivers LNG to cruise ships, container vessels, bulk carriers, car carriers, and tankers, Northstar Holdco Energy said.

Polaris New Energy is the marine bunkering subsidiary of Seaside LNG Holdings, a subsidiary of Northstar Holdco Energy focused on the production and delivery of LNG as a clean transportation fuel.

The 5,500-cu.-meter ATB will be fitted with four 1,375 CBM IMO Type C tanks. It will utilize a cargo handling system designed and developed by Wärtsilä.

Thanks to our continued partnership with Northstar and its affiliate companies, we are amassing our extensive in-house expertise in the design and construction of LNG bunker barge capabilities,” Todd Thayse, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding’s vice president and general manager said in a statement. “As we begin constructing our second LNG bunker barge for Polaris, we are excited to bring the expertise of Fincantieri, our bunker barge design knowledge, and our passion for delivering the highest quality, on-time products to the LNG market."

“LNG is recognized as a clean, dependable and competitively priced fuel for the shipping industry," Tim Casey, senior vice president – LNG for Northstar, said in a statement. "The completion of this sister vessel to the Clean Canaveral further distinguishes Northstar’s capabilities to manage the last-mile logistics of LNG safely and effectively across the US coastline."

McAllister Towing LNG Services LLC will operate the ATB Polaris/Clean Canaveral for Polaris New Energy. The 4,000-hp tug Polaris is fitted with a JAK-400 coupling system and is being built at Master Boat Builders Inc. Polaris New Energy has built the ATB for coastwise transportation of LNG and to deliver LNG as a clean maritime transportation fuel.

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding is also going through a leadership change.

Todd Thayse, who began working at the shipyard more than 37 years ago and spent the last 10 years as its vice president and general manager, has decided to retire.

“The timing of one’s retirement is not an easy decision,” said Thayse. “Especially when you enjoy what you do and the people you get to work with every day."

“Todd has given us everything he has,” said Deste. “And now he has made the difficult decision to retire, which I respect."

Thayse will remain at FBS through mid-January to have a smooth transition with the incoming VP and GM, Craig Perciavalle. After that, Thayse will have an advisory role within Fincantieri Marine Group, which is the corporate entity who oversees FBS.

Perciavalle comes to Fincantieri after most recently serving as president of Austal USA in Mobile, Ala.

He has an extensive background in the shipbuilding and repair industry, having worked at several Gulf Coast shipyards throughout his career. He is a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y.

During his career, Perciavalle has held various senior management positions overseeing commercial and government new construction and repair programs of diverse vessel types.

“It’s never easy to replace a key leader, but we think with Craig coming onboard, FBS will continue to solidify its position as a leader in the commercial shipbuilding industry,” Deste added.