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LNG shipping in Europe adopts virus protection measures

Italy’s three LNG import terminals at Panigaglia, Rovigo, and Livorno are taking precautionary measures to protect LNG shipping operations against the coronavirus.

It is recommended that protective equipment is worn if boarding a vessel at the Italian terminals, according to Italian shipbroker Novelmar.

LNG supply into Italy has fallen recently but it was not clear if this was linked to the impact of the virus or down to broader market dynamics.

In addition, ‘free pratique’ is now required for each ship call, regardless of the ship’s previous port.

Free pratique is the licence given to a ship to enter port on assurance from the captain that the vessel is free from contagious disease.

A ship can signal a request for free pratique by flying a solid, yellow, square-shaped flag.

All ships arriving at Italy’s LNG terminals must also send these documents to the local health office: a maritime health declaration; a copy of a sanitary exemption certificate; crew lists; and ports-of-call during the last 14 days.

The documents must be sent within six hours prior to the vessel’s estimated time of arrival at the Italian terminal, with any update or change to be communicated immediately.

All three Italian LNG terminals are located in the north of Italy: Panigaglia LNG terminal is near La Spezia; Adriatic LNG terminal is near Porto Levante, Rovigo, while OLT Offshore Toscana is near Livorno.

Up to 16 million people have been quarantined in northern Italy to stop the spread of the virus.

OLT Offshore Toscana was eager to stress that operations were currently proceeding according to the scheduled deliveries.

“The company has updated its risk assessment following the precautional national directives on Covid-19,” added a spokeswoman.

Italy has imported 314,000 tonnes of LNG so far in March, according to LNG Edge.

Last March, Italy imported 942,000 tonnes.

The Adriatic LNG terminal at Rovigo imported two fewer cargoes in the last 30 days compared with the previous 30 days, according to LNG Edge.

OLT has imported one cargo fewer, while the data shows no change at Panigaglia, but Panigaglia is three down year on year.

In northwest Europe, precautions have been taken at Gate LNG terminal in the Netherlands.

“Nearly all the office staff are working from home,” said a Gate spokesman.

“Ships can still come in and discharge, so there’s no problem…yet.. I don’t know what the future will bring,” he added.
Source: ICIS by Hal Brown (https://www.icis.com/explore/resources/news/2020/03/17/10483222/lng-shipping-in-europe-adopts-virus-protection-measures)

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