ClassNK issues guidelines for gas fuel

21 Feb 2012

ClassNK has issued new guidelines, outlining requirements for the design of natural gas fuelled ships and providing information on key issues including bunkering, hull structure, fire safety, and explosion prevention.

The guidelines are based on the requirements of the IMO’s International Code of Safety for ships using gases or other low flash-point fuels (IGF Code), which aims to govern safety aspects of the application of natural gas for propulsion and auxiliary purposes.

According to the Japanese class society,  as regulations curbing atmospheric pollution and greenhouse gas emissions grow stricter amid stronger calls for a greener shipping industry, attention is turning to the potential of natural gas as a cleaner alternative to liquid fuel oil. LNG is widely used on vessels designed to transport the commodity and has started to be introduced on other types of ships. Around 30 vessels, including many Norwegian ferries and offshore support ships in the North Sea, are powered by LNG with takeup of the fuel expected to increase in the near future.

“One of our most important missions as a classification society is to help ensure the safety of shipping as the industry looks to ways in which it can reduce its carbon footprint,” says ClassNK chairman and president Noboru Ueda, adding: “These new guidelines have been compiled based on our vast array of technical expertise and experience. By releasing these guidelines today, we hope to provide practical guidance for shipyards, manufacturers, owners, managers, and operators looking to prepare their fleets for a safer, greener future”.

The guidelines are currently published only in Japanese, with an English-language version expected to be made available in early March 2012.

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