An LNG Journey, Episode 5 : Italy – Offshore Toscana (2016)

A warm evening of July 2016 … A flashy orange ship is moored in the middle of the sea. As the winds and currents change directions, the vessel and its crew move around a giant turret. From the windows, the view changes – to the East, the Tuscany coast; to the West, the open sea and Gorgona island.

This LNG carrier retired from sailing, but a whole plant was welded onto her hull. She* has become an FSRU (Floating Storage and Regasification Unit). Other vessels can berth alongside her* and transfer their precious LNG into her tanks. She will then regassify the LNG and send the gas out via a subsea gas pipeline.

I came here to witness the ship to ship transfer of a full LNG cargo that I had bought earlier in spring. Tonight, after 26 days at sea, an LNG carrier is about to arrive. From Peru ! Not less important, tonight France plays Germany in Euro semifinal. A match which, as a French born in Germany, I can’t afford to miss.

The Master of the ship explains me that TV reception is OK apart from a few “blind sectors” covering 15% of the ship’s angle from the North. Depends how the ship moves around the turret. So the sea currents will decide whether we will be able to attend the match. But on that night, the wind was neither French nor German… it was Italian. No  TV !

But I have several trick in my bag. I sailed in with my trusty portable radio… I switch it on and tune into RAI. The speaker screams in Italian. I can hear “Griezmann, Griezmann”…  !

France won 2-0.

* “She/her” is the way seafarers talk about ships.

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