An overhaul of the IMO code relating to gas carriers should be carefully digested by those in the LNG and LPG trades, while amendments to stability rules, SOLAS and fire safety cast a wider net with the potential to affect all ship types.
The IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee’s 93rd session came to an end last week tackling safety issues relating to gas carriers, stability and fire protection measures, among other things.
The issues on the MSC’s agenda are a bellwether for the safety matters at the forefront of the industry and the proceedings of the meetings are keenly followed by operators, charterers and owners alike.
At the conclusion of the latest meeting a number of amendments to mandatory instruments were adopted. Those amendments will enter into force on 1 January 2016.
This is a summary of the amendments, as kindly provided by the American Bureau of Shipping, www.eagle.org.
The issues on the MSC’s agenda are a bellwether for the safety matters at the forefront of the industry
Adopted IGC Code Amendments
The MSC adopted a completely revised IGC Code (The International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk) which will enter into force on 1 January 2016, but applies to gas carriers constructed on/after 1 July 2016. Some of the new requirements also apply to existing ships. Relative to the current IGC Code, some of the new/revised provisions include:
- Risks associated with ships intended to operate for periods at a fixed location (in a re- gasification and gas discharge mode or a gas receiving, processing, liquefaction and storage mode, are to be identified (e.g., fire/explosion, evacuation, extension of hazardous areas, pressurized gas discharge to shore, and process upset conditions) and addressed using principles of the Code as well as recognised standards.
- New and revised definitions are introduced (eg. interbarrier space). More significantly, the term dangerous area has been replaced by the term hazardous area which is expanded and modified in accordance with IEC 60092-502.
- Mandatory carriage of an approved stability instrument on new and existing ships capable of verifying compliance with the applicable intact and damage stability requirements
- The minimum allowable proximity of the cargo tanks to the ship’s side (760 mm in the current Code) now is dependent on the volume of the cargo tank and ranges from 800 mm to a maximum of 2000 mm.
- The standard of damage for G3 type vessels has been extended down from vessels having a length ≥ 125 m to ships having a length ≥ 80 m.• Acceptability of certified safe electric motors driving cargo pumps and compressors in areas which are not “safe”.
- Loading/Unloading lines for toxic products cannot exceed a design pressure of 2.5 MPa.
- New requirements for the analysis, construction and inspection of membrane tanks and the analysis of type B independent tanks.
- New requirements for emergency shutdown, cargo sampling and cargo transfer systems including testing of these systems.
- Additional specifications for metallic and non-metallic material properties and testing and for fabrication processes used in the construct ion of cargo containment and piping systems.
- Prohibition of cargo venting to maintain cargo tank pressure and temperature.
- Provisions for thermal oxidation boil-off vapours for use as shipboard fuel or as a waste heat system
- Capability to maintain cargo tanks’ pressure and temperature within design range after single component failure of cargo control systems and electrical generation and distribution systems
- New specifications for pressure relief valves
- More extensive requirements for water spray systems and increased areas requiring protection
- Completely new requirements for automation systems used to provide required instrumented control, monitoring/alarm or safety functions
- Safeguards and functional requirements for system integration
- Revised criteria for determining the maximum filling limit of cargo tanks to ensure that the vapour space has a minimum volume at reference temperature
- New provisions for the use of cargo vapour as fuel in systems such as boilers, inert gas generators, internal combustion engines, gas combustion units and gas turbines
- New requirement for a cargo operations manual and safety provisions for cargo sampling
Adopted IGC and IBC Code Amendments
Chemical and gas carriers are required to be fitted with an approved stability instrument capable of verifying compliance with the applicable intact and damage stability requirements.
The approval generally applies to the software using MSC.1/Circ.1229, but may include hardware, for example, when the instrument receives input from sensors for the contents of tanks. New ships will need to comply on delivery and existing ships will need to comply at the first scheduled renewal survey after 1 January 2016 but not later than 1 January 2021 for chemical carriers; and 1 July 2016 but not later than 1 July 2021 for gas carriers.
Exemptions are provided for ships:
- on a dedicated service, with a limited number of permutations of loading such that all anticipated conditions have been approved
- where stability is remotely verified by a means approved by the Administration
- loaded within an approved range of loading conditions
- provided with approved limiting KG/GM curves covering all applicable intact and damage stability requirements
- approved stability instrument does not replace the requirement for an approved Stability Booklet to be onboard.
Adopted Fire Protection Amendments
A number of amendments to SOLAS and the Fire Safety Systems (FSS) Code were adopted and will apply to new ships constructed on or after 1 January 2016.For example, new container ships designed to carry containers on/above the weather deck are to carry, in addition to the required fixed fire-extinguishing systems and appliances, at least one water mist lance consisting of a tube with a piercing nozzle which is capable of penetrating a container wall and producing water mist inside the container when connected to the fire main.
A full report of MSC 93 will be included in the next ABS International Regulatory News Update, which will be posted here.