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IMO Sub-Committee Agrees on Draft Code for LNG Fuel

On Tuesday, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) announced that its Sub- Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC 1) has agreed on a new draft of the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code), along with proposed amendments to make the Code mandatory under SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea). As a first step, the proposed amendments focus on LNG, but may later include other low flashpoint fuels, such as ethyl or methyl alcohol fuels. The IGF Code provides mandatory provisions for the arrangement, installation, control and monitoring of machinery, equipment and systems using low flashpoint fuels to minimize the risk to the ship, its crew and the environment. It was agreed that the new IGF Code should apply to both new ships and existing ships converting to low flashpoint fuels, on or after the date of entry-into-force of the Code. The IGF Code would not apply to cargo ships of less than 500 gross tonnage, but the provisions of the IGF Code could be applied to such ships on a voluntary basis, based on national legislation.

The draft SOLAS amendments along with the draft IGF Code, will be submitted to the parent body, the Maritime Safety Committee, at its ninety-fourth session (MSC 94, 17–21 November 2014), for approval with a view to subsequent adoption. The draft amendments include a new Part G in SOLAS chapter II-1 (Construction – Subdivision and stability, machinery and electrical installations) related to ships using low-flashpoint fuels, requiring such ships to comply with the IGF Code; and related amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 (Fire protection, fire detection and fire extinction), covering to the use of fuel with a low flashpoint. Further draft amendments would update the form of safety certificates, to include reference to the new Part G.