The rapid growth of the LNG market has been created by demand for bigger ships amidst a backdrop of high incomes and revenues. LNG ships currently being ordered are bigger some with carrying capacities of more than two hundred thousand cubic metres and summer drafts of 12m. It means that due to the size the ships cannot access the shallow ports and thus there arises a need to transfer the LNG hence, LNG ship to ship transfer.
LNG ship to ship transfer (LNG STS) is enabled by having both vessels held in position against each other while the cargo ship pumps the liquefied gas through flexible hoses. Numerous LNG ship to ship transfers take place with incidences and accidents being quite low due to the advances in technology that have made it possible to manage risks associated with the LNG STS transfer.
A vital part of all LNG STS transfer systems is the Emergency Release System (ERS). Due to advancements in safety technology, the emergency release system consists of numerous parts including the Emergency releases coupling (ERC). Usually, we have more than one ERC within the ERS. The ERC ensures that in case of an emergency the ship crew can contain the situation and isolate the operations and the cargo system. It is mandatory for all vessels to protect the environment as much as possible through preventing cargo spills. An emergency release system is ideal to achieve this as it protects the cargo hoses and the ship from damage.