Vessel seeks other port on expected Freeport LNG delay

At least one liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessel last week has given up waiting to access Freeport LNG’s export plant in Texas, after a growing number of analysts and other sources said the facility would not after all exit its seven-month outage until February or later, reports Reuters.

LNG Tanker Wilforce (IMO 9627954), which was expected to reach Freeport in late January, changed its destination to Spain, according to ship tracking data from Refinitiv.

Last week, at least two vessels, Elisa Larus (IMO 9852975) and Corcovado LNG, (IMO 9636711) also changed their destinations from Freeport to other ports, the report claimed.

Freeport LNG said last week that the operation still planned to restart in the second half of January, pending regulatory approvals. However, that timeline has been delayed many times, with the fire last June originally called a relatively minor incident, but then the reopening put back to October, then to November, then to December, and most recently to January.

Freeport has not yet filed a request with federal regulators to restart the plant, said Reuters, citing an unnamed source familiar with the company’s filings. Federal regulators must approve the restart before the plant can return to service.

Even if the plant is ‘ready to go”, experts in the field had warned that it would face a large amount of work to satisfy federal regulators, including training staff in new safety procedures.

Although some vessels have turned away from Freeport, a few tankers, including South Korea-based Steamship Mutual-entered SK Shipping Co’s Prism Diversity, Prism Courage and Prism Agility, were still waiting in the Gulf of Mexico to pick up LNG from the plant. Some have been there since early November, said Reuters.

In addition, at least two vessels, Prism Brilliance and a BP vessel, the Britannia-entered Kmarin Diamond, were still sailing toward Freeport and were expected to reach the plant in late January.

2013-built, Norway-flagged, 102,315 gt Wilforce is owned by Compass Shipping 84 Corp Ltd care of manager Awilco LNG Asa of Oslo, Norway. ISM manager is Awilco LNG Technical Management AS It is entered with Gard P&I on behalf of Compass Shipping 84 Corp Ltd. Gard AS is claims leader for Marine Hull on behalf of Awilhelmsen AS. As of January 22nd the Wilforce was underway near Valencia, Spain, en route to Sagunto, ETA January 22nd.

2020-built, France-flagged, 118,286 gt Elisa Larus is owned by Caroline 77 SASU care of manager Gazoecian SA of Marseille, France. It is entered with UK Club. As of January 22nd the Elisa Larus was at Corpus Christi anchorage, Texas, USA, Gulf of Mexico.

2014-built, Malta-flagged, 103,905 gt Corcovado LNG is owned by Sea 297 Leasing Co Ltd care of manager TMS Cardiff Gas Ltd of Athens, Greece. It is entered with Gard P&I on behalf of Oceanus LNG Aloha LLC and Gard AS is claims leader for Hull and Loss Of Hire on behalf of TMS Cardiff Gas Ltd. As of January 22nd it was at Freeport anchorage, Gulf of Mexico.