Japan-based classification society ClassNK has issued guidelines for ships using methyl, ethyl alcohol, and LPG low-flashpoint fuels to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Following the discussion by IMO on international safety requirements for low-flashpoint fuels, the ‘International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-Flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code)’ has been adopted and implemented. However, it does not currently address specific regulations for alternative fuels except LNG.

To address this gap, the Japanese classification society has issued ‘Guidelines for Ships Using Low-Flashpoint Fuels (Methyl / Ethyl Alcohol / LPG)’.

The new set of rules has been framed considering the latest technology and regulation trends to promote the design of alternative fuelled ships.

The guidelines have categorised targeted vessels into three classes, namely ships fuelled by methyl / ethyl alcohol as fuel, ships using LPG, and liquid gas carriers fuelled by LPG.

ClassNK also considered the properties of each fuel type and ship regulations. It also pointed out safety requirements for the arrangement and installation of the low-flashpoint fuel related systems for minimising risks to vessels, crew, and the environment.

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ClassNK corporate officer and plan approval and technical solution division director Hayato Suga said: “In addition to LNG, low-flashpoint fuels like methyl / ethyl alcohol and LPG are providing ships with alternative fuel options that have diverse characteristics in terms of environmental performance, availability, price, and more.

“Regardless of the choice, adequate safety measures are essential. Our latest guidelines have incorporated regulatory trends and our expertise proposes the appropriate requirements tailored to methyl, ethyl alcohol, and LPG respectively. I hope they will be well utilised for the efficient design and construction practice of ships using those fuels.”

The guidelines will be amended from time to time in accordance with changes in the IGF Code during future IMO discussions and the fast development of technologies.