Maritime stakeholders call for safe ammonia use

Stakeholders in the shipping industry have collaboratively addressed the paramount safety challenges and best practices essential for integrating ammonia as an alternative marine fuel.

Illustration only; Archive; Courtesy of NYK

Specifically, the stakeholders called for safe ammonia use during an event held on October 4, 2023, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The gathering, the first one in a series of events, was initiated by the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, with participants including the American Bureau of Shipping, Danish Maritime Authority, MAN Energy Solutions, SMGF, DNV, CF Industries, Intertanko, Cargill, A.P. Møller – Mærsk, BP, V.Group, Port of Rotterdam and Lloyd’s Register.

Claus Graugaard, CTO and Head of Onboard Vessel Solutions at the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, stated: “Through these workshops, we aim to bring together the industry’s foremost minds, emphasizing the collaborative enhancement of safety standards for ammonia-fueled vessels. We’re not just discussing change; we’re propelling it.”

“We all agree that the journey forward is anchored in safety. Without a meticulous and collective dedication to understanding its intricacies and establishing unwavering safety protocols, the immense potential of this fuel will remain untapped. The ships of tomorrow need more than just fuel; they require a steadfast commitment to safety.”

To note, recently, ammonia has been gaining attention for its potential to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions. However, according to the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, the safety of crew members remains at the forefront of considerations due to the toxic nature of the ammonia molecule, and a deep and comprehensive understanding of these risks, coupled with effective safety measures and professional risk management, is crucial for its widespread acceptance.

The company highlighted that the study ‘Recommendations for design and operation of ammonia-fueled vessels based on multi-disciplinary risk analysis,’ by Lloyd’s Register Maritime Decarbonization Hub, in collaboration with the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center, provides a comprehensive approach to assessing the safety considerations of onboard ammonia, adding that it indicates that by taking diligent precautions, employing an inherently safe design philosophy and strengthening soft skill and leadership, the risks associated with ammonia can be managed within safe limits.

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