With the industry turning to gas as the fuel, it becomes essential to address the safety issues when gas is used as ship fuel.
The International Maritime Organization’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), which meets at the IMO’s London headquarters for its 95th session from 3 to 12 June 2015, amidst a comprehensive list of issues, it is expected to discuss and adopt a new mandatory code for gas-fuelled ships.
With regard to mandatory gas-fuel ship code, IMO, in a briefing note on 1 June 2015, says:
IGF Code set for adoption
The MSC is expected to adopt the draft International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code), along with draft amendments to make the Code mandatory under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).
As a fuel with lower emissions than fuel oil and marine diesel oil, the use of gas as fuel, particularly liquefied natural gas (LNG), has increased in recent years. But gas as fuel poses its own set of safety challenges, which need to be properly managed. The IGF Code aims to minimize the risk to the ship, its crew and the environment, having regard to the nature of the fuels involved.
The proposed draft amendments to SOLAS chapter II-1 (Construction – Structure, subdivision and stability, machinery and electrical installations), include amendments to Part F Alternative design and arrangements, to provide a methodology for alternative design and arrangements for machinery, electrical installations and low-flashpoint fuel storage and distribution systems; and a new Part G Ships using low-flashpoint fuels, to add new regulations to require ships constructed after the date of entry into force to comply with the requirements of the IGF Code, together with related amendments to chapter II-2 and Appendix (Certificates).
The IGF Code will provide mandatory provisions for the arrangement, installation, control and monitoring of machinery, equipment and systems using low-flashpoint fuels, focusing initially on LNG.
The Code addresses all areas that need special consideration for the usage of low-flashpoint fuels, taking a goal-based approach, with goals and functional requirements specified for each section forming the basis for the design, construction and operation of ships using this type of fuel.
The MSC will also be invited to adopt related amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), and STCW Code, to include new mandatory minimum requirements for the training and qualifications of masters, officers, ratings and other personnel on ships subject to the IGF Code.