First Q-Flex LNG Vessel Transits Through Panama Canal
Qatargas’ Q-Flex LNG vessel, Al Safliya, has successfully completed the transit through Panama Canal for the first time, Panama Canal Authority said May 13.
“The Panama Canal reached a new milestone with the transit of the Al Safliya ship from Qatargas, the largest LNG and the first Q-Flex type that has transited the interoceanic route,” the Panama Canal Authority said.
The vessel, 315 meters long and 50 meters wide, with a total cargo capacity of 210,000 m3 of LNG, transited north from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. Qatargas has a fleet of 31 Q-Flex vessels, world’s second-largest class of LNG carriers.
"Today's transit reaffirms the expanded Canal's capacity to transform world trade and offer customers the benefits of economies of scale. The Panama Canal team is grateful for the continued confidence in our services and hopes to welcome many more Q-Flex vessels in the future," said Panama Canal administrator Jorge L. Quijano.
Q-Flex LNG vessels can now transit through the Panama Canal due to the increase in maximum beam allowed for vessels transiting the neopanamax locks.
Thanks to the design of the vessel, which allowed the reduction of 40% of emissions in comparison with other gas carriers, both the Panama Canal and Qatargas saved almost 10,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions, by reducing global emissions, Panama Canal Authority said.
This development comes less than a month after the expanded Panama Canal celebrated its 6,000th transit of Neopanamax vessels, a milestone marked by another LNG vessel, Energy Liberty, on April 23.
The Panama Canal Authority said it estimates a greater increase in its LNG transits after the increase in the permitted hose. In 2018, the Canal registered 340 LNG transits, compared to 181 transits in 2017. So far in 2019, the Canal has had more than 100 LNG transits.