Safety For Gas-Fueled Ships
A new mandatory code for ships using gases or other low-flashpoint fuels entered into force January 1, along with new training requirements for seafarers working on those ships.
Amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) require new ships using gases or other low-flashpoint fuels to comply with the requirements of the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code), which contains mandatory provisions for the arrangement, installation, control, and monitoring of machinery, equipment, and systems using low-flashpoint fuels, focusing initially on liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Gas and other low-flashpoint fuels are cleaner for the atmosphere as they emit very low levels of air pollutants, such as sulphur oxides and particulates. But these fuels pose their own safety challenges, which need to be properly managed. The IGF Code aims to minimize the risk to ships, their crews and the environment, given the nature of the fuels involved.
The amendments to SOLAS provide a methodology for alternative design and arrangements for machinery, electrical installations, and low-flashpoint fuel storage and distribution systems and a new part to add new regulations to require ships constructed after January 1, 2017 to comply with the requirements of the IGF Code.
The IGF Code addresses all areas that need special consideration for the use 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.
A number of other amendments also entered into force at the same time. Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) include new mandatory minimum requirements for the training and qualifications of masters, officers, ratings, and other personnel on ships subject to the IGF Code.
STCW certificates must be issued, renewed, and revalidated in accordance with the provisions of the 2010 Manila Amendments. These requirements will be enforced as of July 1, 2017.
Amendments to MARPOL concerning tanks for oil residues, update and revise the regulation, expanding on the requirements for discharge connections and piping to ensure oil residues are properly disposed of.
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