SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The country’s first ship-to-ship (STS) transfer operations for liquefied natural gas (LNG) by China’s Jovo Group Company Ltd. Guandong (JOVO) started operations here Thursday (April 27).
The 105,335-ton Malaysian-flagged Seri Bakti, which arrived from Australia, is now anchored in Subic Bay and completed transferring an initial load of LNG to feeder vessel S/S Polar Spirit, a 72,524-ton Bahamas-flagged vessel.
S/S Seri Bakti, skippered by Capt. Sydney De Silveira, is operated by MISC group, a leading provider of energy-related maritime solutions and services.
On the other hand, Polar Spirit is operated by Teekay Gas Service and is under the command of Capt. Nenad Bezic.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Wilma Amy Eisma said Seri Bakti is among the largest gas carriers operating for maritime transport.
“Because of the depth of our port, Subic Bay could accommodate this gigantic vessel, or any other super-size ship for that matter,” Eisma explained.
The ship-to-ship transfer operations involves a large mother vessel loaded with LNG and anchored off-shore, and smaller vessels that will bring the cargo to ports of destination where bigger ships are not allowed to anchor due to maritime issues.
Eisma said Seri Bakti’s operations in Subic Bay involves an initial minimum of two transfers per month and will increase to a maximum of six transfers per month by the third quarter of the year at the earliest.
In terms of revenue, it is expected that the Port of Subic will earn from this project tens of millions of pesos from services, including tug boat services, port services and anchorage, chandlers, bunkering and food supplies.
According to SBMA Seaport general manager Jerome Martinez, Seri Bakti will discharge LNG on two separate occasions to S/S Polar Spirit.
Martinez also stressed that the STS transfer operations will be safe as LNG has less greenhouse effect and is not highly combustible like gasoline or liquefied petroleum gas.
“It burns slowly, and does not mix with water nor kill fish or any other marine life. LNG is very environmental friendly,” he said.
“And in case that it is accidentally mixed with water, LNG will immediately evaporate without affecting the chemical property of the water, which will remain safe for aquatic life or even for drinking,” he added.
Aside from JOVO, the SBMA Board of Directors has already approved three more ship-to-ship service providers to operate in Subic Bay.
“JOVO is the only privately-owned gas company in China and is one of the leading clean energy service providers in the world,”JOVO manager Chris Huang said.
Earlier, JOVO nternational business general manager Yuan Lu said the firm’s STS operation in Subic may lead to the establishment of an LNG regional hub here to accommodate the delivery of LNG to local market and the rest of Southeast Asia.
He added that JOVO’s long-term plan is to introduce the LNG to the Philippine market, especially those in transportation sector that use trucks, haulers and school buses that prioritize safety and clean environment.
Lu also gave the assurance that JOVO has decades of comprehensive experience in clean energy shipping, storage, processing, and sales without accident and assured that its LNG STS operation will be environmentally safe. (Dante M. Salvana)