Coast Guard trains first responders for first LNG entering Port of Corpus Christi

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi’s prevention department coordinated three days of instruction to help prepare maritime first responders for the Port of Corpus Christi’s first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) cargoes.

Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi personnel worked with Cheniere Energy, the Coast Guard’s Liquefied Gas Carrier National Center of Expertise (LGC NCOE), and Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) to provide introductory and specialized training to various maritime first responders.

Cheniere Energy, the biggest buyer of natural gas in the United States, is expected to welcome the first LNG ship into the Port of Corpus Christi as early as next week. Once the Cheniere Energy terminal, currently under construction in Corpus Christi, is fully complete it will be the third major export facility of its kind in the United States.

Nov. 5, 2018, Lt. Ethan Lewallen, Coast Guard’s Liquefied Gas Carrier National Center of Expertise, provided two four-hour training sessions to educate over 100 maritime first responders on the basic properties of LNG and how the risks are mitigated on vessels and facilities. Cheniere Energy provided a LNG live demonstration and tour of their new facility, which included attendees from Coast Guard law enforcement and pollution response staff, as well as representatives from local fire departments, Port of Corpus Christi, Texas General Land Office, Corpus Christi-Aransas Pass pilots and other port partners.

Nov. 6-7, 2018, Kirk Richardson, Texas A&M TEEX, and Lt. Ethan Lewallen conducted specialized training for Coast Guard marine inspectors of the risks and myths of LNG and unique firefighting techniques. The marine inspectors also received details on common deficiencies found aboard some ships and how to inspect critical shipboard operational and safety systems.

“This training was the final piece of the puzzle to ensure first responders, port partners, U. S. Coast Guard and the maritime industry are prepared for this new cargo,” said Cmdr. Jerry Butwid, Coast Guard. “The event demonstrated how the Corpus Christi maritime community regularly works together to address changes in this dynamic environment to ensure the safety and security of our waterways.”

The total U.S. export capacity is expected to rise to 3.9 bcfd (billion cubic feet per day) by the end of 2018. One billion cubic feet is enough gas to fuel about 5 million U.S. homes for a day. The Coast Guard will play an important role in ensuring the safety of the tankers carrying liquified gas.

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