The Coast Guard
announced its determination that the waterway approach to the proposed Weaver's Cove Liquefied Natural Gas terminal
in Fall River, Mass., is unsuitable for LNG tanker traffic due to navigational safety challenges.
In his letter of recommendation, the Captain of the Port and Commander
of Coast Guard Sector Southeastern
New England, Capt. Roy Nash
, said that a segment of the transit route extending from Sandy Point to the Weaver's Cove site, presents significant navigational safety challenges to the proposed LNG vessels' size and transit frequency.
Chief among the Coast Guard's concerns is the limited maneuvering room between the old and new Brightman Street bridges. The bridges are nearly parallel to each other and are only about 1100 feet apart. The opening in the old bridge is only 98 feet wide and is not aligned with the new bridge opening. The proposed tankers are well over 700 feet in length, over 80 feet wide, with drafts up to 37.5 feet.
The proposed transit route would also bring LNG vessels to within 100 feet of the U.S.S. Massachusetts museum
, the Braga Bridge
, and the State Pier
Nash concluded that such transits cannot be conducted safely on a routine, repeatable basis, and that the risk of a mishap in Mount Hope Bay, and particularly in the Taunton River in the vicinity of the two Brightman Street bridges, is unacceptably high. [Source: HK Law]