IMO Low-Flashpoint Fuels Update

imo-logo1The new mandatory code for ships fuelled by gases or other low-flashpoint fuels was adopted by the International Maritime Organization’s  (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), when it met at the Organization’s London headquarters for its 95th session from 3 to 12 June 2015.

The MSC adopted the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code), along with amendments to make the Code mandatory under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

The use of gas as fuel, particularly liquefied natural gas (LNG), has increased in recent years due to lower sulphur and particulate emissions than fuel oil or marine diesel oil. But gas and other low-flashpoint fuels pose their 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 IGF Code contains 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 IMO’s MSC has previously indicated that it would begin work on a code for methanol upon completion of the code for LNG.  Competent authorities from Sweden are leading the methanol code development.  As the code for methanol is expected to mirror that for LNG in many respects, it is hoped that the IMO’s work on a methanol code will be completed in a timely fashion.  More information can be found here.

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