The Malta Independent 16 December 2019, Monday

Electrogas says tanker storm mooring system proved successful once again

Neil Camilleri Wednesday, 13 November 2019, 08:58 Last update: about 2 months ago

The Delimara LNG tanker storm mooring system has again worked successfully and no port operations were affected, Electrogas Malta has told The Malta Independent.

The energy company announced Monday evening that the tanker, which is used to store and feed liquefied natural gas to its gas-fired plant in Delimara had to be moved away from the jetty as a precaution. The area was battered by strong southerly winds that reached up to 55km/h over the past two days.

The Nationalist Party media said the tanker had to be moved “despite the Prime Minister’s assurance that the vessel would not pose any dangers”, but Electrogas said yesterday that the storm mooring system worked successfully, like it had done on previous occasions.

“The Storm Mooring System was tested on 31 October 2016. Subsequently this procedure has been carried out successfully during adverse weather in December 2016 before commencement of the operations. This operation is only required when a certain set of conditions are met with wind and waves coming directly from south. It is expected to occur less than one per year,” a spokesperson said.

The company said the system proved itself again on Monday night, when the tanker was relocated 70 metres off the jetty. “Transport Malta have been debriefed and were very happy with how safely and efficiently the operation was carried out,” it said.

Asked whether the operation had affected operations at the Freeport across Marsaxlokk bay, Electrogas said this was not the case. “The storm mooring position of the FSU is 70m from the jetty and therefore it will not interfere with the other movements in the harbour, which will be limited due to the adverse weather. Once the weather permits the FSU will be positioned again on the jetty and normal operation continues.”

The spokesperson added that no ships were moored at the Freeport during this time since the port had been closed by Transport Malta.

“The FSU can berth with higher wind speeds and wave heights than standard vessels because of the specially designed storm mooring system so should be back in service before any ships berth at the Freeport.” 

“The position was designed with the input of Transport Malta and all the relevant authorities to ensure that both the FSU jetty structure and port operations will be protected in such adverse weather conditions. During such weather the port of Marsaxlokk is normally closed by the Authority for Transport in Malta as is the case on these days.” 

The company also said that, like other port users, it coordinates all the movements with the Harbour Master and the Harbour Pilots, which liaise with all the other traffic in the port.

“Moreover, Electrogas liaised with Enemalta, director of CPD and the Regulator for Energy and Water Services.”

When the FSU is not connected to the regasification facilities, no gas will be supplied to the power stations, which will resort to alternative fuels when available, it said.

A spokesperson for the Energy Ministry said yesterday that, while the FSU was disconnected, energy was being supplied by the interconnector, D3 and backup plants.

Electricity supply was not affected.

Asked whether Electrogas was incurring commercial losses due to the shut-down of the gas-fired plant, the company spokesperson said “the storm mooring system is a safety measure and we do not compromise safety with commercial considerations.”

Photos: Alenka Falzon
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