LNG Carrier Crossing Suez Canal with Qatari Cargo despite Row with Qatar

Illustration; Image Courtesy: Awilco LNG

A liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier Wilforce is transiting the Suez Canal fully-loaded with Qatari LNG, the vessel’s latest AIS data shows.

The cargo is destined for Barcelona, with estimated time of arrival being June 15.

The Norwegian-flagged LNG carrier, built in 2013, loaded its cargo in Ras-Laffan, Qatar on May 29, vessel tracking data from VesselsValue shows.

The 156,000 cbm ship, owned by Teekay LNG Partners and operated by Awilco LNG, is valued at USD 163.5 million, VesselsValue data shows.

Two Golar-owned LNG carriers are also heading toward the canal, Golar Glacier and Golar Celsius.

The transit confirms that Egyptian authorities are allowing the transit of ships through the canal from/to Qatar despite the diplomatic fallout with the country as the canal represents an international waterway.

There has been a lot of confusion regarding the impact of the recent bans imposed by Middle Eastern countries on their neighbor Qatar on the shipping industry, LNG shipping in particular.

Numerous reports surfaced on shifting of tanker movements, diverting cargo around the African continent instead of crossing the Suez.

As reported by Reuters, Shell’s Maran Gas Amphipolis tanker, carrying around 163,500 cubic meters of LNG from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana, was initially headed toward Kuwait’s port of Mina Al-Ahmadi but rerouted Wednesday for Dubai’s port of Jebel Ali.

Following the severing of ties between Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahran and Egypt on Monday, respective port authorities moved to ban ships owned or flagged by Qatar from entering their ports.

On June 7, Abu Dhabi Ports Authority confirmed that all vessels flying the flag of Qatar, and all vessels owned or operated by a Qatari company, will be denied entry into any Abu Dhabi Petroleum Ports.

Saudi Ports Authority advised that all vessels bearing the flag of Qatar, owned by a Qatari company/person or carrying Qatari personnel, will be denied entry into all Saudi Arabia ports. Any goods with Qatar origin or issued by Qatar should also not be discharged in Saudi Arabia ports.

In addition, the Saqr Port Authority barred vessels flying the Qatari flag and vessels wishing to load for Qatar from berthing at Saqr, Ras Al Khaimah, RAK Maritime City, Al Jazeera or Al Jeer ports until further notice.

Separately, Oman’s Port of Khasab agreed to issue port clearance to vessels having difficulties going into or coming out of Qatari ports.

World Maritime News Staff

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