Heavy silting delays LNG cargo arrival at Kochi

Vol 18, PW 5 (23 Oct 14) Midstream & Downstream

Petronet-LNG’s Kochi terminal has to deal with heavy silting preventing LNG tankers berthing, as if the lack of R-LNG evacuation pipelines wasn’t bad enough.

Kochi’s fourth cargo in 14 months was stranded on the high seas and then at the anchorage as a direct consequence of the silting. Maran Gas Apollonia, flying the Greek flag and carrying a standard-sized cargo from Nigeria LNG, was unable to berth at the 5m t/y LNG terminal at its allotted time of 6am on October 15.

Owned and operated by Athens-based Maran Gas Maritime, the 161,870-cubic metre tanker managed to berth only by mid-afternoon on October 18 after waiting at anchorage 20-km from the terminal for three and a half days. “There were draft problems in the berth basin also,” reports a Petronet-LNG source.

“We wanted to unload the tanker on October 15 but couldn’t.” Petronet-LNG and the Cochin Port Trust cleared the shipping channel and the berth basin by deploying two dredgers from Vizag-based Dredging Corporation of India (DCI).

On October 17 they pressed into service a third dredger - DCI Dredge XVII - a trailing suction hopper vessel sent across from Kandla Port on the northwest Gujarat coast. “This is a flagship DCI dredger with a maximum dredging depth of 25 metres,” we hear.

Cochin Port Trust tells us silt deposits at Kochi went up to 18m cubic metres in 2013-14 from 13m cubic metres in 2009-10.