A beginning of construction ceremony was held at VT Halter Marine's Pascagoula, Miss., facility this morning for the first U.S. liquefied natural gas articulated tug/barge unit (LNG ATB). The ATB will be owned by New Orleans-based Q-LNG Transportation. The company formed in November and is 20% owned by Harvey Gulf International Marine (HGIM) and 80% owned by HGIM's CEO, Shane Guidry.

The ATB’s tug, Q-Ocean Service, will measure 128'42'x21' and be powered by four GE 6L250 MDC Tier 4 diesel engines, producing a total of 5,100 hp, connected to Z-drives for added maneuverability. The 324'x64'x32'6" barge, Q-LNG 4000, is designed to carry 4,000 cu. meters of LNG and, upon completion, will meet ABS and International Gas Carrier requirements as an LNG bunkering barge.

The construction of the ATB, which is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2020, is part of a long-term contract with Shell Trading Co. to deliver LNG as a fuel source to various ports in Florida and the Caribbean.

“I’m looking forward to developing a long term relationship with VT Halter Marine and the ATB project is only the beginning,” Guidry said in his remarks. “The cutting of the steel for America’s first LNG ATB bunkering vessel will pave the way for LNG to become the marine fuel of the future.”

“We are honored to be able to celebrate the official start of construction on the first LNG bunkering ATB unit ever built,” Rob Mullins, VT Halter’s CEO, said in his remarks. “We believe this is a significant step towards the USA becoming the premiere supplier of LNG as the environmentally friendly maritime fuel source of choice.”


Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.