Shipping – a safety record to be proud of

A typical membrane LNG carrier

LNG shipping has one of the best records in the shipping industry: more than 90,000 LNG cargoes delivered without a single cargo loss since the first commercial cargo was shipped in 1964. Shell, one of the LNG Canada Joint Venture Participants, was a pioneer in LNG marine transportation in 1964. Today, Shell safely manages a modern fleet of LNG ships and is involved in ventures that deliver 30 percent of the world’s LNG.

The safe transportation of LNG on British Columbia’s waterways is a key concern of the local community, shared by LNG Canada, which is why we insist on operating within the strictest standards and industry best practices – on land and at sea.

A large part of the reason LNG boasts such an excellent safety record is because the ships are designed and built to only transport LNG, and to very high standards. This means that every safety measure in place specifically addresses the needs of LNG shipping.

All LNG carriers adhere to rigorous safety standards and requirements that have been established through years of commercial LNG operations, and help ensure the protection of the world’s waterways.

The safety record of the industry – more than 50 years without a single cargo loss, and a product that evaporates rather than spills – makes LNG a product that is embraced by the community of Kitimat and to the Haisla First Nation, on whose land we are building the project.

LNG carriers’ passage to the LNG Canada facility will involve a 294 kilometre-long voyage from the sea. Commercial shipping to the Port of Kitimat at the head of the Kitimat Arm has been well established for decades. The LNG Canada shipping route is via the Dixon Entrance starting near the Triple Island Pilot Station and continues via Hecate Strait, Browning Entrance, Principe Channel, Nepean Sound, Otter Channel, Squally Channel, Lewis Passage, and Wright Sound before entering the Douglas Channel leading up to Kitimat.

The Douglas Channel is wide and has very deep water right up to the shore, and while it has a few turns, the LNG vessels will have a dedicated escort tug and two certified B.C. Marine Pilots on board – while in BC’s compulsory pilotage coastal waters –  to ensure its safe passage to and from the terminal.

LNG Ships

The LNG marine shipping industry’s safety record can be attributed, in part, to the robust and fit-for-purpose design of the LNG carriers. All LNG carriers have double hulls, are insulated and use a cryogenic cargo containment system. Each of these features contributes to the ship’s overall safety and integrity. Strong international regulations, and very well defined operating procedures and over 50 years of experience, further contribute to ensuring safe operations of these vessels.

A typical LNG ship is expected to load at the LNG Canada terminal between 130,000 to 170,000 cubic meters of LNG. The fine hull form and 12.5 maximum draft of these ships means they don’t generate a significant amount of wake, as compared to other types of ships including ferries and bulk cargoes.

At full project build-out (the completion of four LNG processing units, or “trains”), 350 LNG ships are expected to visit the marine terminal annually. This means roughly one ship arriving and one ship departing every day.

Click here to download our Safe Shipping brochure to learn more about our commitment to safe shipping.