A second tanker carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Trinidad to the Distrigas of Massachusetts terminal in Everett, MA, this year lost propulsion and had to be escorted to safety, raising the concern of a state lawmaker.

The U.S. Coast Guard said the 920-foot tanker Suez Matthew, which was carrying 31 people and a full load of LNG, temporarily lost propulsion about 45 miles east of Boston Sunday. Propulsion was restored aboard the tanker within an hour, and it was escorted to an anchorage in Broad Sound, a channel in Massachusetts.

The LNG load reportedly was later delivered to the Everett terminal. Distrigas officials were unavailable to confirm this.

In February the 933-foot Catalunya Spirit tanker lost propulsion about 33 miles east of Chatham, MA, and was towed to a northern anchorage point about seven miles off the coast of Gloucester (see Daily GPI, Feb. 13).

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 was barred from Boston Harbor until the Coast Guard and the captain of the Port of Boston verified its safety.

The Distrigas facility supplies about 20% of all the natural gas used in New England.

Massachusetts Sen. Anthony Galluccio, D-Cambridge, expressed concern that an LNG tanker could go adrift while traveling through the densely populated Boston Harbor. “The LNG folks will assure us these tankers are impenetrable and extremely safe, but obviously when you have a ship adrift carrying ignitable fluids it’s concerning,” he told the Boston Globe.

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