LNG fueled escort tug bunkers in Zeebrugge

FEBRUARY 20, 2014 — The world's first LNG fueled escort tug, the Borgøy owned by Buksér og Berging AS, has notched up another first by becoming the first seagoing vessel to be bunkered with LNG at the port of Zeebrugge, Belgium.

The operation took place February 17 in a "Truck to Ship" bunkering carried out by an experienced team from LNGEurope, which bunkers LNG to inland waterways vessels in Rotterdam and Antwerp.

The bunkering at Zeebrugge was carefully planned and prepared by LNGEurope, working with the Port of Zeebrugge, Fluxys Belgium, and the Hoppe Maritime Group.

With an LNG terminal operated by Fluxys in its outer port and linked by gas pipelines from Norway and the U.K., Zeebrugge has grown into a gas crossroads that covers up to 15% of the Northwestern European market. It has ambitions to grow into an LNG bunkering center.

Several players with plans to build seagoing LNG bunkering vessels or barges have contacted the port authority to investigate the loading possibilities at the existing Fluxys terminal. Many can already be handled at the existing jetty. In 2015, a second jetty will be operational and the port will then be able to handle almost all sizes of LNG vessels, including small bunkering vessels that will be able to supply LNG fueled ships in the port. There is also a project underwau for the building of two seagoing LNG bunkering vessels, operating in and from the Port of Zeebrugge. According to port officials, this means Zeebrugge will have a central position in the small scale LNG business, ready to feed the LNG bunkering supply chain for neighboring ports.

Companies building non-seagoing bunker barges have investigated the possibility of reaching the Zeebrugge LNG terminal via the inland waterways network.

In addition, a second Truck to Ship LNG bunkering station is to be built in the near future.