Last week Gibraltar performed two ship-to-ship transfers of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the Bay of Gibraltar, the local daily Gibraltar Chronicle reports.
After the completion of the STS transfers, the Gibraltar Port Authority hinted at the possibility that this is just the beginning, and that they intend to grow the sector.
Even though government officials insisted on the practice being safe and regulated, the Environmental Safety Group expressed several concerns, calling on the government to confirm that the right conditions are in place for the safe STS transfer of LNG.
ESG also questioned the necessary safety regulations, enforcement and local expertise needed to ensure the safe transfers, together with the necessary emergency protocols and capabilities, pointing out that Gibraltar’s fire fighters underwent training in LNG-related incidents one day before the STS transfer.
In a response to criticism from the opposition and the environmentalists, the government issued a statement saying that Gibraltar’s safety procedures for bunkering and ship-to-ship transfers are”examples of industry best-practice.”
“I enjoyed going out, despite the roughish seas, to be briefed directly by the professionals on the regulations applicable
to a Ship-to-Ship LNG transfer. From either of the safety or the environmental protection standpoint, the Ship-to-Ship operation is not something people should be at all concerned about,”said Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, who witnessed the first ever STS LNG transfer in Gibraltar last Friday.