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.
Liquefied natural gas 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.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has developed the International Code of Safety for ships using gases or other low flash-point fuels (IGF Code) to govern safety aspects of the application of natural gas for propulsion and auxiliary purposes.
In these new ClassNK guidelines, requirements for the design of natural gas fueled ships have been specified based on the current draft of the IGF Code. The guidelines provide comprehensive information on key design features including bunkering, hull structure, fire safety, and explosion prevention measures.
“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 & 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”.
These guidelines are currently available in Japanese only. The English version will be published in early March and will be available via the ClassNK website at the following URL.