International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Secretary-General, Kitack Lim.
By PATRICK MAYOYO
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC) has endorsed draft interim recommendations for carriage of liquefied hydrogen in bulk.
The interim recommendations for carriage of liquefied hydrogen in bulk are expected to be submitted to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), at its 97th session, for approval.
During its 3rd session held on September 5-9, 2016, the CCC said the draft interim recommendations have been developed as the International Gas Carrier (IGC) Code and does not specify requirements for liquefied hydrogen in bulk.
They are based on the results of a comparison study of similar cargoes listed in the IGC Code, for example, liquefied natural gas. They are intended to facilitate the establishment of a tripartite agreement for a pilot ship that will be developed for the research and demonstration of safe long-distance overseas carriage of liquefied hydrogen in bulk.
The draft interim recommendations highlight general requirements and special requirements for liquefied hydrogen, such as the provision of portable hydrogen detector for each crew member working in the cargo area; selection of fire detectors for detecting hydrogen fire; and appropriate safety measures to prevent formation of explosive mixture in the case of a leakage of hydrogen.
Coal schedule revised amidst safety concerns related to cargoes that may liquefy
The Sub-Committee reviewed the report of a Correspondence Group on Evaluation of Properties of BAUXITE and COAL, in light of their potential to liquefy.
The Sub-Committee endorsed a draft revised individual schedule for COAL, with a view to its inclusion in the next set of amendments to the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code), which will be submitted for adoption by MSC 98 (in 2017).
The draft amendments to the schedule point out that coal may liquefy if shipped at a moisture content in excess of its transportable moisture limit (TML) and state that due consideration shall be given to moisture migration and formation of dangerous wet base when blended coals are loaded.
The Sub-Committee noted that a Global Bauxite Working Group (GBWG) has been established by the Australian, Brazilian and Chinese bauxite research groups, with the aim of ensuring that industry research on the behaviour of bauxite during shipping is aligned, globally applicable and peer reviewed.
Having noted that the GBWG report would be finalized and submitted for peer review in March 2017, the Sub-Committee established a Correspondence Group on Evaluation of Properties of BAUXITE and revision of the existing individual schedules for SEED CAKE to, inter alia, consider the draft report and the final report of the GBWG prior to consideration by the Sub-Committee at its next session.
Whilst the work on bauxite continues, the Sub-Committee agreed that the circular CCC.1/Circ.2 on Carriage of bauxite that may liquefy, which the Sub-Committee had approved at its previous session, should remain in effect. CCC.1/Circ.2 warns shipmasters of the possible dangers of liquefaction associated with carriage of bauxite.
Following consideration of findings from the investigation into the loss of the 10-year-old Bahamas flag bulk carrier Bulk Jupiter, which was carrying 46,400 tonnes of bauxite when it sank rapidly with 18 fatalities in January 2015.
In the meantime, having noted the concern regarding the continued loss of life at sea in connection with cargoes that may liquefy, the Sub-Committee finalized draft amendments to paragraphs 4.5.1 and 4.5.2 of the IMSBC Code to emphasise the responsibility of the shipper for ensuring that a test to determine the transportable moisture limit (TML).
And also of a solid bulk cargo as well as sampling and testing for moisture content are conducted, for submission to MSC 97 as an urgent matter, with a view to approval and subsequent adoption by MSC 98 together with the next set of amendments to the IMSBC Code.
Draft IMSBC Code amendments related to substances that are harmful to marine environment agreed
The Sub-Committee also endorsed draft amendments to the IMSBC Code related to substances which are harmful to marine environment, for submission to MSC 97 for approval and subsequent adoption by MSC 98, as part of the next set of amendments, subject to the endorsement of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), at its 71st session in 2017.
The amendments would require the shipper to declare whether or not a solid bulk cargo, other than grain, is harmful to the marine environment if discharged. Associated draft amendments to the 2012 Guidelines for the implementation of MARPOL Annex V (resolution MEPC.219(63)) were also agreed and will be submitted to MEPC 71 for approval.
Draft amendments (04-17) to the IMSBC Code agreed
In addition to draft amendments related to cargo liquefaction and substances that are harmful to the marine environment, the Sub-Committee reviewed the next set of draft amendments (for adoption in 2017) to the IMSBC Code, updating various provisions, including those to individual schedules, and forwarded them to the Editorial and Technical (E&T) Group for finalization and submission to MSC 98 for adoption.
Draft SOLAS amendments relating to requirement for cargo spaces containing vehicles with fuel in their tanks for their own propulsion agreed
The Sub-Committee endorsed draft amendments to SOLAS regulations II-2/20.2 and II-2/20-1 to clarify the fire safety requirements for cargo spaces containing vehicles with fuel in their tanks for their own propulsion, specifically vehicles which do not use their own propulsion within the cargo space.
Development of safety provisions for ships using fuel cells
The Sub-Committee made progress on the development of safety provisions for ships using fuel cells, with the preliminary drafting of a proposed new part E on fuel cell power installations to the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code). Part E would cover installation, fire safety and other relevant matters. The IGF Code Correspondence Group was tasked with finalizing the provisions.
Safety of ships using methyl/ethyl alcohol as fuel
The IGF Code Correspondence Group was tasked with further developing draft technical provisions for the safety of ships using methyl/ethyl alcohol as fuel.
Draft unified interpretations to the IGF and IGC Codes agreed
The Sub-Committee endorsed a draft MSC circular on unified interpretations to the IGF Code relating to: tank connection space equipment and the use of a tank connection space for tanks on open deck; the fuel preparation room.
Also the appropriate location of premixed engines using fuel gas mixed with air before the turbocharger; protection against cryogenic leakage and control of hazardous zones in fuel preparation rooms on open deck.
The design features to be included as a minimum in the special consideration within risk assessment of closed or semi-enclosed bunkering stations; the ventilation of machinery spaces; the ventilation of double piping and gas valve unit spaces in gas safe engine-rooms.
And the ventilation inlet for double wall piping or duct; control and maintenance of pressure and temperature of liquefied gas fuel tanks after the activation of the safety system; and the external surface area of the tank for determining sizing of pressure relief valve.
The Sub-Committee also endorsed a draft MSC circular on unified interpretations to the IGC Code, relating to: closing devices for air intakes, cargo tank clearances; pump vents in machinery spaces; the safe means of emergency isolation of pressure relief valves.
It also included the application of fire safety requirements in SOLAS chapter II-2 to cargo machinery spaces and turret compartments; back-flushing of the water-spray system; and the external surface area of the tank for determining sizing of pressure relief valve.
Correspondence group on high manganese austenitic steel established
A correspondence group was established to further consider the suitability of high manganese austenitic steel for cryogenic service, with a view to the possible inclusion of high manganese austenitic steel in the IGC and IGF Codes.
High manganese austenitic steel is a material that has been proposed as being suitable for use in cryogenic applications such as cargo tanks, fuel tanks and piping of LNG carriers and LNG-fuelled ships.
The correspondence group was tasked with: developing test acceptance criteria for high manganese austenitic steel for cryogenic service; further considering the suitability of high manganese austenitic steel for cryogenic service; and developing draft amendments to the IGC and IGF Codes to include high manganese austenitic steel for cryogenic service, if appropriate.
IMDG Code draft amendments progressed
Progress was made on developing the next set of draft amendments (for adoption in 2018) to update the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, for further consideration by the E&T group that will meet in the spring of 2017.
High rate of compliance with SOLAS requirements for the verification of the gross mass of a packed container reported
The Sub-Committee noted information from the World Shipping Council (WSC) regarding the experience of WSC member companies with the new SOLAS requirement for the gross mass of a packed container to be verified before it is loaded onto a ship.
The amendments to SOLAS regulation VI/2 entered into force on 1 July 2016 and require the verified gross mass (VGM) of each packed container to be provided by the shipper prior to loading.
The WSC informed the Sub-Committee that a high number of packed containers – 95% or more – were being accompanied by VGM information prior to initial vessel loading.
And the rate of compliance has steadily increased since 1 July 2016 and is expected to continue to rise; and that there is a high degree of awareness amongst supply chain parties about the VGM requirements, with carriers systematically engaging with shippers who were still not providing VGM information.
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