Local authorities are permitting ship-to-ship transfer
operations of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to resume at the Freeport in Subic
Bay. The operations however will be under strict health protocols design to
prevent the possible spread of the coronavirus.
The LNG/C Methane Shirley Elisabeth, which has a gross
tonnage of 95,753 tons, and is carrying 142,800 cubic meters of liquid gas
arrived in Subic Bay from Qatar. The Bermudan-flagged carrier had stopped en
route in Hong Kong to pick up three mooring masters before proceeding to Subic.
While the resumption of the ship-to-ship transfers will help
the local economy to recover from the impacts of the pandemic the local
authorities are concerned over the potential health risks. As such, the
officers and crew aboard the LNG/C Methane Shirley Elisabeth, the tanker that
will transfer LNG cargo to smaller feeder ships, will be required to remain on
board during the expected two-week stay in Subic Bay.
“No one from the ship can be allowed to come ashore, sadly
not even the 16 Filipinos among the 31 crew members, because of the health
measures we must observe,” said Wilma T. Eisma, SBMA Chairman and Administrator
in a statement. The crew onboard is reported to consist of 15 foreign
nationals, including nine Greeks, two Croatians, two Ukrainians, a Romanian,
and a Latvian. Eisma added that the same policy will be implemented for the
crew members of feeder vessels that will transport the LNG cargo from LNG/C
Methane Shirley Elisabeth to ports in China.
When the carrier arrived in Subic, a team from the Bureau of
Quarantine boarded the tanker for health inspections and safety protocols. They
were followed by a boarding party composed of personnel from the Bureau of
Customs and the Bureau of Immigration.
The LNG/C Methane Shirley Elisabeth is expected to stay at
anchor until August 15 for STS operations and another LNG carrier, the
Singaporean-flagged LNG/C Lerici, is also expected to arrive in Subic and will
also conduct ship-to-ship (STS) transfer.