In Port of Gävle, a world unique connection of the product tanker Tern Fors to shore power was successfully carried out. The vessel remained connected for over three hours and, for the first time, executed an unloading operation using shore-side electricity as the primary power source.
The realisation of this extraordinary milestone stems from years of meticulous preparation by both the port and Terntank. On Tuesday, Tern Fors connected to the newly constructed shore power facility in Gävle harbor, conducting a three-hour unloading operation, which is the most energy-intensive process for a tanker, requiring the operation of the vessel’s own pumps. A total of 1,424 kWh was consumed during this groundbreaking operation.
Reflecting on the achievement, Robert Friborg, the chief engineer on board Tern Fors, expressed, “It was a completely magical feeling at the moment when we switched to shore power. It felt like we were experiencing something groundbreaking.”
A large project that started in Gothenburg
Originating as a substantial project in Gothenburg, the availability of shore power for tankers is currently limited to one port in the USA for regular traffic, making Gävle harbor’s accomplishment truly exceptional. Connecting tankers to shore power is inherently complex due to the constant risk of explosions when a tanker is docked in energy ports, where flammable products are pumped, posing a potential ignition hazard for electrical equipment. The Green Cable project, led by Gothenburg Port, aims to establish a new global standard for the electrical connection of tankers at the dock in hazardous environments. The initiative involves collaboration with classification societies, oil companies, shipping companies, the Swedish Transport Agency, and Gävle Port, marking a significant stride toward safer and more sustainable maritime practices.
Navigating Challenges and Ensuring Success
Throughout the connection process, the crew aboard Tern Fors maintained direct communication with technicians from subcontractors in both Norway and China, while the electricians from Gävle port were present on-site.
Captain Lennart Knutsson acknowledges the encountered challenges, expressing, “We did encounter some challenges during the day, but we solved the issues that arose, made some adjustments, and then it went as planned.”
Tern Fors initially tested the connection in Gävle in February without connecting the power, leading to subsequent improvements and adjustments made both to the onshore facility and the vessel itself.
“Now everything fell into place, and we were unloading completely without any auxiliary machines connected. In the event of a connection issue, our backup batteries kick in, ensuring there is never a blackout on board,” notes Lennart Knutsson.
Awaiting Evaluations for Future Success
The vessel’s connection to the cable occurs amidships, with specially adapted environments for connection points both on board and ashore. On the dock, the cable is housed in a container with air overpressure to prevent the entry of gases. The small connection house on board the vessel is filled with nitrogen, maintaining it below 5 percent oxygen to prevent explosions in case of a spark.
Anticipation surrounds evaluations from both the port and the shipping company, crucial steps before Tern Fors and its sister vessel, Tern Island, can embark on their next connection.
Lennart Knutsson is optimistic about future endeavors, stating, “The next time we do it, it will probably go much smoother; now we know more about how the connection should be made and that it works as intended. Next time, it will likely be much quicker.”
About Terntank, Today, the fourth generation has taken over at the helm of Terntank, a classic family business firmly anchored in the coastal community of the Swedish west coast. The company’s roots can be traced back to the early 20th century. Today Terntank owns and operates ten modern chemical Tankers in sizes around 15,000 dwt. Terntank today owns and operates the world’s most environmentally friendly tanker fleet, and we will continue to strive to remain in the forefront for many years to come.
Source Terntank Rederi A/S