REPORTS in the national press that the Qatari crisis had cost Milford Haven two big gas deliveries this month may not be correct, according to the latest voyage data from marine traffic websites.
A report in the Daily Telegraph on June 12, which was also picked up by other news outlets, said that the sudden turning of tankers Zarga and Al Mafyar caused wholesale gas prices to surge.
The paper had also reported that gas traders were caught off guard earlier this month, when the pair of Qatari vessels, both headed for Pembrokeshire, ‘abruptly veered off course in the days after a travel ban was imposed on the UK’s biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplier by neighbouring Gulf states.”
The paper reported that The Zarga LNG carrier, which was heading to Wales via the Suez Canal to deliver gas to South Hook LNG, ‘suddenly changed course towards Asia’. The Telegraph also reported that The Al Mafyar also changed route – again unexpectedly.
Whist there was a spike in the gas price, it seems that both tankers are still heading to Milford Haven, but via the Cape of Good Hope, rather than the Suez Canal. Whilst the ships will be delayed, they will still arrive, according to marinetraffic.com, and other sites.
The exact reasons for the rerouting of the vessels is unclear. The Herald has contacted South Hook LNG, who have as yet declined to comment.
On May 2, 2015, a deck officer was struck in the head by a mooring rope during a berthing operation at the LNG terminal with the tanker Zarga, from Qatar.
The report has been published by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB). It concludes that the mooring lines were inadequate for the job.
A summary of the report reads: “The area where the officer was standing was clearly within the snap back zone of the rope but had previously been designated as a safe area.
“The perception on board was that HMPE ropes did not recoil on failure, and the elasticity introduced by the rope’s tail had not been properly assessed.
“The vessel’s mooring lines were not fit for purpose, they did not have the minimum breaking strength specified at build. they were not compatible with the vessels mooring deck fittings and the required working load limit was too high.
The report does however praise the response to the accident, which likely saved the man life.
It states: “Once the accident had happened, the response of the crew and the terminal staff was immediate; the emergency services were alerted, and medical first-aid was provided swiftly. The injuries suffered by the OiC were life threatening, but because of the efforts of his crewmates, the emergency service paramedics and hospital surgeons, he survived.”