This Captain’s Corner is brought to you by LCDR Robert S. Butts, USCG, Retired. Rob retired from active duty last December after 23 years of service and is now serving as a civilian employee responsible for the Uninspected Vessel Branch. In addition to his primary duties, Rob is also the subject matter expert for the Sector on the safe and secure use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in the port. If you have not yet heard, natural gas and LNG is projected to become a major source of energy in our region, and Rob is working hard to ensure we are ready. As always, if you have recommendations for future topics, we would appreciate your input. See you in the port!
– CAPT Tom Allan
LNG: Are you ready?
By LCDR Robert S. Butts, USCG, Retired
I recently attended the LNG Fuel Forum-North America in Miami, Florida, and was not surprised to hear Mr. Gary Van Tassel, Senior Vice President, LNG Technical, Argent Marine Management say, “Jacksonville, Florida is the hub of LNG activity.” That statement and the associated international attention has been building for quite some time and is the result of the environmental stewardship of two companies that operate right here in our port: TOTE, Inc’s Sea Star Line and Crowley Maritime Corp. These two visionary companies independently set a course to design, build and operate United States registered ships propelled by natural gas – specifically LNG. By using LNG as a source of energy, it is expected these companies will substantially reduce the use of marine fuel oil onboard these vessels, while simultaneously reducing the amount of carbon emissions, sulfur emissions, and nitrogen oxide emissions when they transit the North American Emission Control Area.
There is also an abundant flurry of efforts in other transportation segments in Northeast Florida to expand the use of natural gas as a source of energy. So much so, we spearheaded a Northeast Florida Regional Natural Gas panel discussion at Jacksonville University in partnership with the JAX Chamber of Commerce, JAXPORT, and the Jacksonville Marine Transportation Exchange (JMTX). The purpose of the panel discussion was to assemble the region’s senior leadership, government agencies, and those companies developing natural gas to collectively meet and discuss common efforts, roles and interests to expand the safe and secure use of natural gas in our region. Of those 80 persons assembled, we recognized three key elements for the continued successful expansion of natural gas and LNG in our region: education, demand, and infrastructure. Therefore, I invite you to learn more about the region’s natural gas efforts and the use of LNG by reading the Winter edition of JAXPORT Magazine. The JAXPORT Magazine staff has done a fantastic job outlining how Northeast Florida shippers are pioneering a cleaner fuel revolution.
The further development of natural gas and the introduction of LNG as an energy source is an exciting endeavor and Jacksonville, Florida is said to be the hub of that activity due to the vision and investment of TOTE, Inc. and Crowley Maritime Corp. As the leading federal regulatory agency responsible for the safety and security of waterfront facilities and vessels, we are pleased to partner and coordinate with the JAX Chamber, JAXPORT, JMTX and each company who intends to make, store, transport and ultimately use natural gas and LNG as an energy source. Semper Paratus!
Featured image by U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Jorgensen