IMO Adopts New Code for Gas-Fuelled Ships
The International Maritime Organization’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), which met at the IMO’s London headquarters for its 95th session from 3 to 12 June 2015, adopted a new Code for Gas-Fuelled Ships.
The Committee adopted amendments to SOLAS Chapter II-1 Part G and the Code of Safety for Ships Using Gases or Other Low-Flashpoint Fuels, IGF Code. The Code’s mandatory provisions will enter into force on 1 January 2017 and will apply to new cargo ships ≥ 500gt and passenger ships using natural gas fuel.
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 amendments to SOLAS slated to enter into force on 1 January 2017 include:
- Revised cargo tank venting arrangements in SOLAS Chapter II-2 for new oil tankers constructed on/after 1 January 2017 that will require secondary means of venting to allow full flow relief of cargo or inert gas vapors at all times
- Power ventilation systems serving vehicle, special category and ro-ro spaces on new passenger and cargo ships constructed on/after 1 January 2017 are to deliver the specified number of air changes (6 or 10 air changes per hour depending on ship type and space served) at all times when vehicles are in such spaces.
- Amendments of the mandatory provisions of Section 3 (Safety of personnel and ship) of the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code providing interim measures requiring the ship’s crew to conduct regular on board operational fire safety risk assessments of cargo handling areas on self-unloading bulk carriers with internally installed conveyor systems.
- Intact Stability Code was revised with respect to the non-mandatory provisions of Part B, to address the means to account for ice accretion on cargo ships carrying timber deck cargoes.
Approved SOLAS Amendments also cover:
- Enhanced Survey Program Code, which was revised to refer to recommendations for entering enclosed spaces aboard ships
- Fire Systems Safety (FSS) Code – a new Chapter 17 of the FSS Code was approved, which contains specifications for foam firefighting appliances for the protection of helicopter facilities on new SOLAS-certified ships and MODUs
- Intact Stability Code – the non-mandatory provisions of part B were revised, consequential o the amendments to the introduction of the 2008 IS Code regarding vessels engaged in anchor-handling operations
- Watertight doors – SOLAS II-1/22 was revised to remove two of the provisions for determining when certain watertight doors may be permitted to remain open during navigation