Why the Port of Cork is memorable and environmentally sustainable

With industry awards and new opportunities around LNG emerging, it’s an exciting time at the Port of Cork

Why the Port of Cork is memorable and environmentally sustainable
Celebrity Cruises' Eclipse visited the Port of Cork in May 2017
This article was first published in the Itinerary Planning Special Report 2017. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

Perhaps most famous for being the last port the Titanic called at, Cobh in southern Ireland has a unique place in nautical history and the port, and the city of Cork itself, continue to attract and impress visitors more than 100 years on.

For the second year running, Cobh was ranked as the second favourite cruise destination in the British Isles and Western Europe in the 2017 Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards.

Captain Michael McCarthy is commercial manager at the Port of Cork, as well as the chairman of Cruise Europe, which represents 128 member ports in northwest Europe. He says: “When Cobh was awarded this in 2016 we were thrilled. Never did we think we’d be ranked second again in 2017! It’s a fantastic result for Cobh and the county of Cork. As always this is a genuine collaborative team effort and it could not be done without an extremely dedicated group of people who believe in our destination. Together with Cork City Council, we offer tourism ambassadors on every liner, local entertainment and then, as their visit ends, we have the Cobh brass band on the quayside as the liner departs. This all helps in making a visit to our port memorable and positive.”

A Port of Cork LNG terminal, in the form of a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) and LNG import terminal infrastructure, will offer an attractive opportunity to the cruise industry.

NextDecade, a US-based energy company, has announced details of a project to ship natural gas from its gas field in Texas to Cork Harbour, to be piped into the national grid and be available for LNG bunkering. The company is rolling out projects to ship LNG all over the world, and has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Port of Cork to develop a facility in Cork Harbour.

Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding, the potential development at the Port of Cork would receive LNG from NextDecade’s planned Rio Grande LNG project in South Texas. This would help increase and diversify Ireland’s supply of natural gas in a sheltered, natural deep-water harbour capable of handling large volumes of liquids and cargo ships of all sizes.

NextDecade believes the Port of Cork facility could support imports of up to three million tonnes per annum from Rio Grande LNG. FLEX LNG will be supporting NextDecade to provide a fully integrated regasfication import solution for the proposed LNG terminal at the Port of Cork.

The technology will enable the growing number of LNG and dual-fuel cruise vessels to avail of bunkering during their itinerary calls at very competitive rates.

“The beauty about an FSRU located in the Port of Cork is that it is on the approach sea lanes into Europe for many of the cruise lines as they relocate at the beginning and end of the season and as they enter the designated emission control areas from Cruise Europe,” says McCarthy. “We’re ideally placed to have an LNG bunkering type service in the port.”

McCarthy added: “I don't think every port needs an LNG re-fuelling facility. We would be ideally located to supply bunkering services for LNG for the Irish and UK ports of Dublin, Belfast, Liverpool, all around the Irish Sea and Ireland. That is part of our feasibility plan going forward.”

Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley
18 January 2018