IBIA report from IMO’s CCC 4

The Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers met for its 4th session (CCC 4) from 11-15 September at the London headquarters of the International Maritime Organization.

IMO HQ London (Photo: IMO)

This report focuses on items relevant to the development of a regulatory framework for using low-flashpoint fuels on ships, which is only part of CCC’s overall agenda. Low-flashpoint fuels have become increasingly relevant as a means of meeting environmental aims, in particular the IMO’s MARPOL Annex VI regulations to reduce emissions of air pollutants including sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter. Low flash-point fuels may also play a role in reducing overall emissions of CO2 from ships.

Agenda item 3: Amendments to the IGF Code and development of guidelines for low-flashpoint fuels & Agenda item 7: Unified interpretation of provisions of IMO safety, security and environment-related conventions

CCC has 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), as well as developments of guidelines for other low-flashpoint fuels.

Between CCC meetings, work on draft technical provisions for using methyl/ethyl alcohol (this includes methanol) as a ship fuel has been progressing in a correspondence group (CG), which IBIA participates in. The CG has also been working on draft amendments and additions to the IGF Code regarding fuel cells.

Reporting on the work done in the CG at CCC 4 last week (CCC 4/3), the CG chair said good progress was made on the provisions.

In addition to the work on fuel cells and methyl/ethyl alcohol, CCC 4 also had a study and proposal submitted by Germany (CCC 4/INF.11 and CCC 4/3/5) aimed at getting the ball rolling on draft provisions for ships to be fuelled by low-flashpoint diesel.

A working group (WG) established at CCC 4 was instructed to finalise draft amendments and additions to the IGF Code regarding fuel cells, further develop draft technical provisions for ships using methyl/ethyl alcohol (methanol) as a fuel and consider and/or finalise a number of draft amendments and unified interpretations (UIs) to the IGF Code presented under both agenda item 3 and 7. It was also asked to provide input to what issues need to be addressed in a formal safety assessment on the use of low-flashpoint diesel as a marine fuel.

The WG was instructed to prioritise the draft amendments and unified interpretations (UIs) to the IGF Code, and then to and finalise the draft requirements for fuel cells (which include a draft definition in part A and a new draft part E to the IGF Code). Due to time constraints, the WG only concluded the draft amendments ad UIs, and did not finalise the fuel cell work, while the remaining work has been referred back to the CG.

The priority of work for the CG has shifted away from completing the requirement for fuel cells and it has been asked to give priority to finalise draft technical provisions for ships using methyl/ethyl alcohol.

For a more detailed report on the development of provisions for methanol, click here.

For a more detailed report on Germany’s initiative regarding provisions for low-flashpoint diesel, click here 

Agenda item 4: Suitability of high manganese austenitic steel for cryogenic service and development of any necessary amendments to the IGC Code and IGF Code

CCC’s parent committee, the Maritime Safety Committee, decided in 2016 (MSC 96) that the IMO will consider the suitability of high manganese austenitic steel for cryogenic service, which, according to a submission from South Korea, is superior to other materials and can help strengthen the structures of LNG tanks and pipelines on ships. This in turn could help improve the design of LNG carriers and ships using LNG as fuel, and make it more economic to build such vessels. South Korea had proposed amending the IGF Code and IGC Code (the code for ships carrying gas as cargo) to include this material.

CCC 4 heard from a correspondence group (CG) established at CCC 3 and set up a working group (WG) to continue this assessment.

CCC 4 agreed that consideration of high manganese austenitic steel for cryogenic service should be limited to steel plates only, and also that if it is confirmed that they are suitable, the IMO should develop draft interim guidelines for their application instead of draft amendments to the IGC and IGF Codes. The CG was re-established to continue this work and report to CCC 5.

Agenda item 10:  Election of Chair and Vice-Chair for 2018

In accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the Maritime Safety Committee, the Sub-Committee unanimously re-elected Mr. H. Xie (China) as Chair and unanimously elected Ms. G. Schwan (Germany) as Vice-Chair, both for 2018.

Agenda item 9: Biennial status report and provisional agenda for CCC 5

All the agenda items reported on above are also on the provisional agenda for CCC 5. It also looks likely that working groups will once again be established on both agenda item 3 and agenda item 4, both of which will also see work progressed prior to CCC 5 in two separate correspondence groups.

The fifth session of the Sub-Committee has been tentatively scheduled to take place from 10 to 14 September 2018.

Report by Unni Einemo

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