GL guidelines on gas fuel in force

08 Jun 2010

Germanischer Lloyd (GL) has issued guidelines for gas as ship fuel on the application of the IMO regulations. These guidelines are in force since 1 May and apply to all ships excluding liquefied gas tankers.

The internal combustion engine installations subject to the IMO interim guidelines may be single-fuel (i.e. natural gas) or dual-fuel (gas and fuel oil) machines, and the natural gas may be stored in gaseous or liquid state. The guidelines are to be applied in conjunction with the relevant provisions of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, and the Protocol of 1988 relating thereto, as amended.

"With new emission control regulations taking effect, gas as a ship fuel, once banned, is now re-emerging as an environmentally and economically attractive option," Dr Hermann J. Klein, member of the executive board GL, said at a press conference in Athens today.

Compared to oil, natural gas has two key advantages: high efficiency and a lower environmental impact. Engine problems and damage caused by low-quality heavy fuel oils will be a thing of the past for owners switching to gas as a ship fuel. Risks associated with conventional ship fuels include bunker quality issues, poor ignition and combustion, and uneven heat and pressure distribution on pistons, piston rings and cylinder liners.

In early June 2009, the IMO Committee on Maritime Safety (MSC) lifted the ban on natural gas as a ship fuel by adopting Resolution MSC 285(86), called ‘Interim Guidelines on Safety for Natural Gas-Fuelled Engine Installations in Ships’. Developed by the IMO subcommittee on Bulk Liquid and Gases (BLG) with GL assistance over the past few years, the Interim Guidelines are the first step towards the envisioned general code for gas as a ship fuel, the so-called IGF Code, which is currently under development by IMO and is expected to enter into force conjointly with the revision of SOLAS 2014.

The GL guidelines will help shipowners and yards prepare for the introduction of gas as a ship fuel in the near future. The new guidelines provide criteria for the design arrangements and installation of propulsion and auxiliary machinery powered by natural gas to ensure a level of integrity, safety, reliability and dependability equivalent to that of comparable, state-of-the-art machinery burning conventional fuel oil.

Links to related companies and recent articles ...

Germanischer Lloyd SE

view more