KARACHI: Pakistan created history with the docking of two liquefied natural gas (LNG)-carrying ships “in one tide” at Port Qasim, Karachi, in the early hours of Saturday. The mooring has also averted the emerging gas crisis in the country.
“Yes, we have created history by managing to provide berths to two LNG ships in one tide,” Port Qasim Authority (PQA) Chairman Asad Rafi Chandna told The Express Tribune.
“The five- to six-hour-long operation has set an example…to be done again more conveniently,” he added.
Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi tweeted, “kudos to our team at Port Qasim. History has been written today.” Chandna, who led the one-tide operation, elaborated that the ships needed a specific sea tide for docking at the berths.
An LNG-loaded ship arrived at the outer anchor on Thursday evening but it was unable to find the required high tide in daylight as pilots did not navigate in late evening and in the night.
In the meantime, the second ship arrived on Friday night. Simultaneously, the delay was already leading to gas shortage in the country.
“Therefore, we planned; the required high tide was to be available at around 8:30am on Saturday morning when we managed to help both the ships sail one after the other in one tide from the outer anchor to the berths,” he said.
“Sailing of one ship in a single tide wouldn’t have addressed the gas crisis alone as it would have delayed sailing of the second ship by at least a day,” he said.
It was a full-fledged operation in which a PQA team used six tugboats and three pilot boats to help the two LNG ships navigate which covered 22 nautical miles (around 40 kilometres) from the outer anchor to the berths in five to six hours, he said.
“Q-flex vessel Al-Ghashamiya berthed at Engro Elengy Terminal alongside the FSRU (floating storage regasification unit),” he said. “LNG carrier GasLog Singapore berthed at Pakistan GasPort Limited’s terminal alongside the FSRU.”
Industry sources said the gas would be transported to the power houses, CNG fuel stations, industrial and commercial sectors, and other users in Punjab through pipeline networks of Sui gas companies.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2019.