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IMO to Adopt New Code for Gas-Fueled Ships

Viking Princess
Image: Viking Princess, an LNG-powered multipurpose offshore vessel

Published Jun 1, 2015 3:29 PM by The Maritime Executive

The IMO is expected to adopt the IGF Code, a new mandatory code for gas-fueled ships, when the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) meets June 3 to 12 in London.

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. 

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 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.

Additionally, the IMO will address draft amendments to make the Code mandatory under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

The proposed changes to the SOLAS amendments will provide a methodology for alternative design and arrangements for machinery, electrical installations and low-flashpoint fuel storage and distribution systems. Furthermore, they will add new regulations to require ships constructed after the date of entry into force to comply with the requirements of the IGF Code.

The MSC will also consider:

Cyber security- including a proposal to develop voluntary guidelines on cyber security practices to protect and enhance the resiliency of cyber systems supporting the operations of ports, vessels, marine facilities and other elements of the maritime transportation system.

Piracy and armed robbery against ships- The MSC will review statistics on reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships

Unsafe mixed migration by sea- The MSC will receive a report on the outcome of the inter-agency high-level meeting to address unsafe mixed migration by sea, which was held from 4 to 5 March 2015.

Ship routeing measures to be adopted- The MSC is expected to adopt new ship routeing measures aimed at protecting sensitive areas in the south-west Coral Sea off Australia.

Adoption of other amendments including-

Draft amendments to SOLAS regulations clarifying the provisions related to the secondary means of venting cargo tanks and the performance of ventilation systems.

Draft amendments to the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code, to improve the requirements relating to the provisions for concentrates or other cargoes which may liquefy.