The International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) has issued guidelines for the safe terminal handling of LNG ships. The guidelines describe procedures and operational actions, as well as ways to ensure a safe ship-to-ship bunkering of LNG ships.
The guidelines note that a terminal can be characterized as LNG ready if it checks the following:
- Has incorporated procedures into its safety management system to ensure the proper level of preparedness for the handling of LNG-fuelled vessels;
- Can deliver terminal-specific and location-specific safety measures to be incorporated into the JPO, such as (but not limited to) weather conditions and limitations, potential restrictions with regard to simultaneous operations, and means of communication;
- Can review and agree upon a JPO;
- Can review, contribute to and agree upon SIMOPS and risk mitigation;
- Can adjust the operational process to deal with safety measures necessary for the safe handling of the LNG-fuelled vessel, with and/or without simultaneous operations;
- Can adjust the operational process to deal with the safety measures necessary for safe, JPOcompliant LNG bunkering;
- Has prepared the terminal incident response organisation to deal with an LNG-related incident;
- Has instructed terminal personnel on the procedures and safety measures;
- Has trained relevant personnel;
- Has established proper interaction and communication with all the relevant terminal personnel;
- Has established proper interaction and communication with all the relevant vessels.
Terminal safety arrangement
Terminal preparation for LNG fuelled vessels is established by setting up a safety arrangement. The required arrangement depends on the nature of the operations planned during the stay of the LNGfuelled vessel alongside the terminal. Four levels of operations are addressed:
- Lay-by berth
- Operations, like cargo operations, without LNG bunkering
- LNG bunkering without other operations, like cargo operations
- LNG bunkering with simultaneously other operations, like cargo operations
Project-based safety approach
If an LNG-fuelled vessel moors at a dedicated location and the vessel is bunkered only by a specific LNG bunker vessel, a project-based approach to ensure the safety of handling could be sufficient. The terminal will be fully involved in the arrangements made between the terminal, the LNG-fuelled vessel, the LNG bunker vessel and the competent authority. A bespoke Joint Plan of Operations (JPO) will be established and adopted by all parties.
System-based safety approach
Ports with different terminal operators or several LNG bunker vessel operators will receive visits from LNG-fuelled vessels on short notice. For these terminals a more flexible approach will be necessary and they will not be able to participate in the early stage of safety preparations made by the vessels. The flexibility and proper level of safety can be achieved by adjusting operational processes. These terminals should establish system-based preparedness.
Often in practice, a project-based approach precedes a system-based approach. In other words, by attending a number of risk assessments and subsequently applying a number of safety measures, knowledge is built up and the terminal gradually evolves from a project-based into a system-based LNG Ready Terminal.
In addition, the following infographic recommends the golden safety rules for LNG bunkering at the terminal: