In November 2017, New Orleans-based Q-LNG Transport LLC awarded a contract to VT Halter Marine, Pascagoula, Miss., to build a first-of-its-kind (in the U.S.) liquid natural gas (LNG) articulated tug/barge (ATB) unit.

Last week, the 4,000-cubic meter, 324'x64'x32'6" liquid natural gas ATB barge Q-LNG 4000, was launched from the docks of VT Halter. The ATB also consists of the 128'x42'x21' 5,100-hp tug, Q-Ocean Service.

“The Q-LNG 4000 is dedicated to delivering safe transit to all ships and ports it will serve,” Shane J Guidry, chief executive officer of Q-LNG Transport, said during the launching ceremony. “Q-LNG Transport is committed to being a leader in developing LNG infrastructure in the United States and abroad. We are equally pleased that the ATB unit is Jones Act compliant, meaning she was constructed in America, owned by an American company, crewed by Americans under an American flag.”

The Q-Ocean Service, which is powered by twin GE 6L250 MDC, Tier 4 main engines and connected to Wartsila Z-drive units, is scheduled to be launched in late October.

The new ATB is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter next year and will work under a 15-year contract for Shell Trading (U.S.) Co., delivering LNG fuel to various ports in Florida and the Caribbean.

Q-LNG 4000 and Q-Ocean Service are designed to provide ship-to-ship transfers of LNG to vessels that use LNG as a fuel source and also ship-to-shore transfers to small scale marine distribution infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico and abroad.

“We are proud of this successful launch,” said Ronald Baczkowski, president and CEO of VT Halter. “It marks a significant milestone in our role to deliver cleaner and more efficient fuels for the cruise and commercial ship industries. The professional and dedicated employees of VT Halter Marine have put their hearts and souls into building a vessel that will support environmentally friendly domestic commerce for decades to come.”

The new ATB will bunker Carnival Cruise Line’s two new dual-fuel ships and two dual-fuel Siem Car Carrier’s pure car/truck carriers chartered by the Volkswagon Group to transport vehicles from Europe to North America.


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.