Crowley Maritime Corp. has signed a long-term time charter with Shell NA LNG LLC for the building and operation of a new, U.S.-built, LNG bunker barge.

When built, the barge will be the largest Jones Act-compliant vessel of its kind, helping to expand current network capacity and meet demands for cleaner energy, Crowley said. The vessel will be built at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

Bay Shipbuilding designed and constructed two large articulated tug-barges (ATBs) for Crowley in 2002. Currently Bay Shipbuilding is wrapping up construction of a similar but smaller LNG barge for Polaris New EnergyClean Canaveral, which is expected to deliver later this year. This vessel for Crowley is expected to be in service in 2024.  

“The new bunker barge will extend Crowley’s commitment to deliver cleaner, innovative solutions to help the shipping industry continue on the path to decarbonization,” said Tucker Gilliam, vice president, Crowley Shipping. “Orders for ships fueled 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.”

The vessel becomes the second Jones Act-compliant bunker barge Shell has under long-term charter in the U.S. It is expected to be deployed to serve LNG-fueled ships that call on ports on the U.S. East Coast starting in 2024. With this barge, Shell continues to expand its global network for LNG bunkering, with 10 LNG bunker vessels currently under contract and plans to add further to its growing global fleet.

“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 decarbonization, 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.”

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

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