For several decades LNG is shipped from production areas to the markets. While the loading and unloading of the LNG carriers (LNGCs) was traditionally done at terminals in harbours, we see now a trend to develop floating systems for the liquefaction or regasification of the gas. Both floating liquefaction units deployed for the exploitation of remote offshore gas fields (FLNG) and floating import terminals in the form of Floating Storage and Regasification Units (FSRU) connected via the local gas grids to houses and other users are on the drawing boards. As suitable cryogenic hoses are not yet available and LNGCs are not equipped for tandem offloading, the transfer LNG from FLNG to the LNGC or vice versa is done in a sideto- side mooring arrangement using conventional loading arms. The developer of the facility (further referred to as the owner) has in the operational phase not only the role as operator of the floating LNG plant; he is also harbour master of the LNG terminal. This paper discusses the advantages of considering these operational aspects in the early design stages of the project including the benefits of fast-time and real-time manoeuvring simulations.
For an onshore LNG terminal in a harbour, the operator of the LNG terminal and the harbour master representing the port authority have a different responsibility and relations with the captain of the LNGC and the pilot than in the offshore situation (Figure 1). The operator of the terminal has mainly an economic interest: he wants to ensure a maximum throughput at minimal costs under safe conditions. The harbour master specifies general regulations for port access including e.g. criteria for tug assistance to ensure the safety and availability of the port, while the captain of the LNGC is responsible for the safety of the vessel. The pilot assisting during port entry decides on the safety of the individual manoeuvre under the given conditions. Pilotage is sometimes part of the port authority, but is often also an independent organisation.