ClassNK issues new guidelines for liquefied hydrogen carriers


Japanese ship classification society ClassNK has unveiled a new set of guidelines for liquefied hydrogen (LH2) carriers to ensure safe constructions and operation of LH2 vessels in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Interim Recommendations.

The recommendations have been developed in order to address the increasing interest in the bulk transportation of LH2.

ClassNK has used its technical expertise and experience in gas carrier research and development (R&D), as well as ship classification activities to prepare the new guidelines, which comprise various international standards.

They also include additional requirements that aim to take the specific hazards that arise from the handling of LH2 into consideration.

It is noted that as a low carbon energy source, the use of hydrogen as a fuel could help mitigate environmental problems caused by fuel emissions and help pave the way to achieving a low-carbon society.

"ClassNK developed these guidelines to help ensure the safe design and construction of LH2 carriers and support this sector of the industry."

ClassNK natural resources and energy department general manager Hayato Suga said: “The advent of liquefied hydrogen carrier technology opens the door to new and exciting possibilities, but as with all new technologies, proper guidance must be in place to ensure its safe application.

“ClassNK developed these guidelines to help ensure the safe design and construction of LH2 carriers and support this sector of the industry.”

The classification society further noted that the existing International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code) outlines safety requirements for gas carriers such as liquefied natural gas (LNG).

However, there are currently no specific requirements in the code that pertain specifically to hazards associated with the handling and transportation of LH2.