The liquefied natural gas carrier (LNG), METHANE MICKIE HARPER, recently docked at the Port of Saldanha after requiring critical repairs, ahead of its journey to Punta Europa, Equatorial Guinea. While docked, the team conducted intermediate surveys and underwater inspections (IWS). Supplies were replenished and a crew change took place during its stay. The Port of Saldanha was chosen due to its available water depth as well as its sheltered inner anchorage, which makes diving possible in adverse weather conditions. The port also made available launch crafts that assisted with the successful transportation of crew/technicians/surveyors as well as the large quantity of provisions and ship spares.

The vessel, which commenced its voyage from Darwin OPL, Australia is 291metres long and 45metres wide, which is equivalent to three soccer pitches. The vessel’s maximum speed is approximately 37 kilometres per hour (20 knots) and it has a maximum shaft power of 25,400kW HP.

Port Manager, Vernal Jones said the Port of Saldanha is one of the three designated LNG ports of the future positioning within TNPA. “The geographic positioning of Saldanha bodes well for vessels transiting the West Coast area. At the same time, we in the midst of a period of major expansion within the oil and gas sector amongst others, it is encouraging that International partners see Saldanha as the port of choice to undertake repairs for their LNG vessels,” he added.

Prior to METHANE MICKIE HARPER’S docking, LNG carrier, RIVER NIGER, also docked at the Port of Saldanha after requiring urgent repairs. The ship’s previous port was Dahej, India and she is expected to dock in Bonny, Nigeria after repair work is complete. Under the supervision of a class surveyor, the repair job entailed welding in the vessel’s engine room by a team of welders from EBH Ship Repair Company as well as a dive operation, which was carried out by SubTech to facilitate repairs underwater.

The 288.75-metre-high and 22.85-metre-deep RIVER NIGER is owned by Bonny Gas Transport Limited and operated by NLNG Ship Management Ltd. She was built in 2006 by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. LTD in Ulsan, Korea in 2006.  The LNG RIVER NIGER was the second LNG vessels in history to have called at the Port of Saldanha after LNG AKWA IBOM docked for repairs at Saldanha Bay Inner Anchorage in 2015. Together with the METHANE MICKIE HARPER, a total of three vessels have docked at Port of Saldanha to date.