The IMO has invited ISO to develop a standard for methyl/ethyl alcohol as a marine fuel and a standard for methyl/ethyl alcohol fuel couplings.
The decision to do so was taken at the 99th session of the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 99) in May. ISO said it will work on these standards and provide them as soon as possible, but pointed out that there was limited experience with such fuels in practice.
There are currently eight large ships (7 tankers and a ro-pax ferry) trading internationally operating on methanol as fuel and at least four more are expected to enter into service in 2019.
A comment was made during MSC 99 that fuel standards should be developed before ships begin using such low-flashpoint fuels so that safety concerns are adequately addressed before, not after, ships start using them.
ISO has traditionally been developing fuel standards only after user experience to be able to assess which parameters need to be specified, and what relevant limits should be.
The decision to invite ISO to develop standards for methyl/ethyl alcohol fuel for ships was taken when MSC 99 discussed the report from the fourth session of the Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC). CCC has been tasked with drafting technical provisions for using methyl/ethyl alcohol as a ship fuel under an ongoing item on its agenda regarding amendments to the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code).
Development of these draft provisions have been progressing in a correspondence group (CG), which IBIA participates in.
Report by Unni Einemo