Both boilers on board a liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker that lost propulsion off the Massachusetts coast early last Monday were back on line by week's end and the ship's operating systems were being tested, according to the Coast Guard Boston Command Center.

Technicians on the LNG tanker Catalunya Spirit restored full electrical power to the vessel's switchboards last Tuesday night. A repair crew found two malfunctioning electrical relays Thursday. The crew bypassed the relays to test the engine and found that in the event of an emergency, the engine could run.

The 933-foot-long ship, which is owned by Poseidon Gas and operated by Vancouver-based Teekay Corp., is at the future site of the Neptune Offshore LNG facility off Eastern Point Light near Gloucester, MA. The ongoing repairs are being monitored and managed by the Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba remains with the Catalunya Spirit enforcing a safety zone around the tanker.

While the tanker is not reported to have leaked any LNG, a pair of spill-response ships, each with 2,640 feet of boom, were on the scene. The Coast Guard said there were 17 additional spill-response boats in the area that could respond to a leak in three to four hours and another 150 spill-response boats could be on the scene in eight to 10 hours if needed.

The tanker lost propulsion about 33 miles east of Chatham, MA Monday and was towed Tuesday to the anchorage point, about seven miles off the coast of Gloucester. Initial rescue efforts last Monday were hindered by 18 to 20 foot seas and high winds.

The tanker was transporting a full load (138,000 cubic meters) of LNG from Trinidad and Tobago to the Distrigas terminal near Boston when it ran into problems and went adrift. The LNG shipment will not be brought into Boston Harbor until the Coast Guard, Teekay and Capt. Gail Kulisch, the captain of the Port of Boston, have verified its safety, a Coast Guard spokesman said.

Distrigas has "sped up the timeline" for shipment of another LNG cargo to "ensure there are no energy concerns" in the New England region, a Coast Guard spokesman. The Distrigas facility supplies about 20% of all the natural gas used in New England.

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