IBIA explainer: IMO’s new flashpoint documentation requirement
Suppliers will be required to include Information about flashpoint of fuel oil on the BDN under draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI, in line draft amendments to SOLAS recently approved by the IMO.
The 78th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 78, June 6-10) approved draft amendments to appendix V of MARPOL Annex VI, for adoption by MEPC 79.
Appendix V of MARPOL Annex VI, “Information to be included in the bunker delivery note”, already requires sulphur content and density to be documented on the BDN.
The draft amendment will require either flashpoint measured in Celsius (°C) or a statement that flashpoint has been measured at or above 70°C.
What this means in practice is that suppliers will need to provide an actual measured flashpoint value on the BDN, unless the flashpoint has been measured at or above 70°C.
In other words, a statement will be adequate if the flashpoint has been measured at or above 70°C, but suppliers can also provide an actual flashpoint on the BDN for values above 70°C if they choose to do so.
Following the draft amendments to appendix V of MARPOL Annex VI are adopted by MEPC 79, the new flashpoint documentation requirement is expected to enter into force on May 1, 2024.
Prior to making the amendment to requirements for the BDN, MEPC had decided to await the outcome of the 105th session of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), to see what MSC agreed regarding the flashpoint data to be recorded and reported in relation to safety. MEPC would then draft corresponding draft amendments to appendix V of MARPOL Annex VI.
IBIA submitted a document to MSC 105, commenting on the draft SOLAS amendments with regard to flashpoint. IBIA explained that in practice, fuel oils are typically only tested to determine if the flashpoint is above 70°C, because that is considered to be sufficient to guarantee it is above the 60°C minimum limit in SOLAS. You can read IBIA’s paper MSC 105/5/1 on this link.
Following discussion, MSC 105 approved draft amendments to SOLAS Chapter II-2, including a requirement for a pre-delivery declaration of conformity with regulation SOLAS II.2/4.2.1, and for the ship to receive a BDN with the flashpoint specified, or a statement that flashpoint has been measured at or above 70°C. (More information on this link)
IBIA believes this outcome from MEPC and MSC is better than the original proposals to include flashpoint as mandatory information in the BDN, regardless of the measured value. IBIA has stressed time and again that requiring specified flashpoint values above 70°C is neither necessary not practical in relation to compliance with the 60°C minimum limit for fuel oils required under SOLAS.