PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Port Canaveral welcomed a new tug and barge system this week that will provide a cleaner burning fuel source for cruise ships including Carnival’s Mardi Gras scheduled to set sail later this year from Florida.
The Port will become the first in the U.S. to become a liquified natural gas, or LNG, cruise port. Currently docked at Cruise Terminal 3 the Q-LNG4000 will eventually become the first LNG articulated tug and barge in the U.S. offering fueling offshore.
“We’re excited to be the first. It’s always nice to get ahead of the curve,” Port CEO Captain John Murray said.
According to Carnival, “LNG is odorless, colorless, more environmentally friendly and less expensive than other fuels” and the marine industry’s most advanced fuel technology. With the fueling system, Mardi Gras can sail for two weeks between refueling.
The Q-LNG transport president said the fuel is also safe.
“There’s onboard gas detection as well as cameras that are designed specifically to look for gas leaks,” Chad Verret said.
Along with the barge, the Port also has a new ship for putting out LNG fires, in the event of emergency.
Mardi Gras will also dock at Cruise Terminal 3. Its maiden voyage was delayed to April 24 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The new ship includes the BOLT roller coaster on board, six themed areas with food and dining experiences.
And while the Mardi Gras will be the first, the Port says the other major cruise lines are constructing ships to be LNG-powered as well.
The Canaveral Port Authority chairman called LNG the fuel of the future.
“It is clean, it is less expensive, and it’s made right here in the United States,” Admiral Wayne Justice said.
Captain Murray said the Port is ready to service more LNG-fueled ships.
“We’ve got the capability and we’re excited to handle those new ships when they come out,” Murray said.
The cruise industry has been shut down in the United States since March 2020 because of the pandemic. Cruise lines are working on restart plans that will meet the CDC’s “framework for conditional sailing” announced in October that replaced the no-sail order, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.
Port Canaveral Chief Financial Officer Michael Poole is projecting $32.59 million in operating revenue and a $43.12 million loss for the port in the current budget year that ends Sept. 30, reports Florida Today.
The Port is hoping to get millions from a new stimulus package under consideration in Washington.
It’s the first proposed stimulus that includes seaports.
“There is unanimous and overwhelming support for Port Canaveral,” Diane Luensmann of Port Canaveral Communications told Port commissioners Wednesday.