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ICS includes new elements on bunkering and SIMOPS in Tanker Safety Guide 

ICS launches fourth edition of its guide which also emphasises on simplifying the human element processes on board to reduce the chance of root cause accidents attributed to human element.





The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) on Monday (16 October) announced the launch of the Tanker Safety Guide (Liquefied Gas), fourth edition. 

The comprehensive guide is the definitive industry best practice guidance for gas carrier operators and a carriage requirement under the national regulations of many flag States.

Revisions to the guide include emphasis on simplifying the human element processes on board to reduce the chance of root cause accidents attributed to human element, and new elements on bunkering and simultaneous operations, all reflecting changes in the latest edition of the International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals (ISGOTT 6). It also includes an updated section on reliquification to incorporate new technologies.

All content included in this latest edition has been developed and reviewed by senior industry experts with direct experience in the field and has been presented in a user-friendly and modernised format, with a significant upgrade in the visual representation of technical information, including infographics and flow diagrams.

Gregor Stevens, nautical manager of the International Chamber of Shipping, said: “Safety is critical to gas carrier operators, and it is hoped that this revised guide will become the standard guideline on the safe operation of gas carriers and the terminals they serve.

“We are confident that the updated guide will contribute to the further improvement of the industry’s excellent safety record and are confident it will be a staple for users to remain at the forefront of current guidance.”

This guide has been written for:

  • On-board deck and technical officers
  • Those training or providing training in liquefied gas transportation
  •  Anyone engaged in the transportation of liquefied gas by sea

New in this edition of the guide:

  • Alignment of the ship/shore safety checklist with ISGOTT 6
  • Emphasis on simplifying the human element processes on board to reduce the chance of root cause accidents attributed to human element
  • New elements on bunkering and simultaneous operations
  • Expanded guidance on rollover, enclosed spaces, and mooring
  •  Updated section on reliquification to incorporate new technologies
  • Useful and relevant annexes pulled into the main body of the guide for easy reference

Note: For more information and to order the ICS Tanker Safety Guide (Liquefied Gas), fourth edition, click here.

Photo credit: Kinsey W on Unsplash
Published: 19 October, 2023

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Alternative Fuels

MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels

Facility will be anchored by new dual-fuel marine engine simulator for training on safe handling, bunkering and management of incidents involving the use of alternative marine fuels such as methanol.





MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Monday (15 April) said it will establish an industry-supported facility to address the current competencies gap by training the global maritime workforce in handling and operating vessels using clean marine fuels. 

MPA said there is a need for more maritime personnel and seafarers to be trained and equipped to operate these ships safely and efficiently as the number of ships operating on zero or near-zero emission fuels grows. 

With hundreds of crew changes conducted daily here, Singapore’s Maritime Energy Training Facility (METF) is well placed to support the training of international seafarers. Ship owners and operators can expect time and training cost savings by tapping on METF’s training facilities. 

Around 10,000 seafarers and other maritime personnel are expected to be trained at METF from now to the 2030s, as the facilities are progressively developed by 2026.

The Letter of Intent to establish METF was signed by MPA and 22 partners comprising global marine engine manufacturers, international organisations, classification societies, trade associations, unions, and institutes of higher learning, at the SMW 2024 opening ceremony. 

The setting up of METF follows from recommendations put forth by the Tripartite Advisory Panel, formed in early 2023 by SMF and supported by MPA, to identify emerging and future skills and competencies to build for the maritime workforce.

METF will be established as a decentralised network of training facilities in Singapore. It will be anchored by a new dual-fuel marine engine simulator for training on the safe handling, bunkering and management of incidents involving the use of alternative fuels, such as methanol and ammonia. 

Other training facilities supporting METF include the integrated engine room and bridge simulator by the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA) at Singapore Polytechnic (SP), as well as the bridge and engine simulator at Wavelink Maritime Institute (WMI)2 for crew resource management training. 

For emergency response training, METF is supported by gas and fire safety training facilities at Poly Marina operated by the SMA, as well as AR-enabled scenario- based training developed by SP’s Centre of Excellence in Maritime Safety.

METF will also tap various partners’ assets and training technologies to upskill the global maritime workforce, including seafarers, on the operations, bunkering and management of zero or near-zero emission-powered vessels. New training courses and curriculum will be developed by METF’s partners, and progressively rolled out from this year.

MPA also aims to support and contribute to the work of the Maritime Just Transition Task Force (MJTTF) as one of the institutions rolling out the Baseline Training Framework for Seafarers in Decarbonization – which is under development – through METF. 

This will directly contribute to the joint International Maritime Organization (IMO)–MJTTF work to develop training provisions for seafarers in support of decarbonisation of shipping, and complements the IMO's ongoing comprehensive review of the International Convention and Code on Standards of

Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). Singapore is currently chairing the IMO Working Group on the comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and Code, established in 2023 under the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping.

As part of the METF curriculum, SMA has launched one of the Asia Pacific’s first training courses focused on handling methanol as fuel for ships. The training course, accredited by MPA, covers operational and safety protocols during methanol fuelling developed by MPA following the first ship-to-containership methanol bunkering operation conducted in Singapore in July 2023. 

The course also includes a methanol firefighting practical component covering both shipboard and terminal fires. SMA currently offers two sessions of the Basic and Advanced courses every month, with plans to scale up based on the industry’s demands. The course will be open to all maritime personnel and seafarers starting in April 2024.

With strong demand signalled by the industry for such common training facilities, METF is expected to catalyse investments by the industry to develop other training facilities and solutions in Singapore to tap into this growth area. MAN Energy Solutions, one of the leading global engine makers of alternative-fuel engines, recently opened a new mixed-purpose facility. 

The facility includes a new MAN PrimeServ5 training academy for customers and employees on the safe operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of all MAN Energy Solutions equipment. METF is also expected to benefit corporate training academies set up by shipping companies, such as those from Eastern Pacific Shipping, to train their global seafaring crew and shore-based personnel.

The MPA – SMF Joint Office for Talent and Skills (Joint Office) was established in March 2024 to coordinate and drive the tripartite efforts by the government, industry, and unions to upskill the Maritime Singapore workforce across shore-based and seafaring jobs and to ensure Singapore continues to have access to a diversity of maritime talents and experts.

To provide workers with greater flexibility in the acquisition of new skills, the Joint Office will work with IHLs and industry to review and progressively convert relevant short-term courses, or on-the-job training into accredited competency-based micro-credentials. These will focus on emerging skills such as maritime cybersecurity, digitalisation, and sustainability. 

The micro-credentials could potentially be stacked towards formal or industry-recognised qualifications and to fill the gap in quality and flexible upskilling or reskilling opportunities for working adults while they remain in full employment. The Joint Office plans to expand the micro-credential pathway, allowing recognition of more courses and workplace learning as micro-credentials over time.

Related: Singapore bunkering sector enters milestone with first methanol marine refuelling op


Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 15 April 2024

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Alternative Fuels

Shanghai: Adoption challenges of methanol bunker fuel take centre stage at VPS panel session

Chimbusco, GARD, Green Marine Group, the Methanol Institute, VPS, and DNV experts offer respective thoughts on shipping’s transition towards methanol as a marine fuel.





Shanghai: Adoption challenges of methanol bunker fuel take centre stage at VPS panel session

Issues of using methanol as a marine fuel was the focal point of discussion by panellists at the recent VPS-organised Fuel Quality, New Fuels & Decarbonisation Challenges seminar held in Shanghai, China on 28 March.

Chimbusco – Working on three aspects of methanol as marine fuel

Tian Ming, General Manager, Enterprise Management & Development Division, Chimbusco shared the company has been working on three areas, include availability, bunkering ports, and standards, for the use of methanol as a bunker fuel.

“As far as we know the availability of green methanol is very limited and there will be a big gap between supply and demand. In China, we pay attention to green methanol projects but found they are too far from mass production,” said Mr Tian.

He noted methanol can only be currently supplied as a bunker fuel at less than ten ports in the world while Shanghai port will start supplying green methanol soon.

“Last year at a decarbonisation forum we launched marine fuel quality and delivery standards for methanol. With such standards we hope we can have safe fuel supply [for methanol],” noted Mr Tian.

“This year, we will be focusing on the supply of marine biofuel and green methanol, and consider the design of a more environmentally friendly refuelling barge.”

The Methanol Institute – Market imbalance for forecasted demand and supply

Zhao Kai, Chief Representative China, the Methanol Institute (MI) similarly noted a shortfall in future methanol bunker supply due to a chicken and egg situation between producers and shipowners.

“We currently have about over 260 new vessels in the orderbook and 100 ships due for retrofits to use methanol as a bunker fuel which will generate more than 20 million mt in market demand,” explained Mr Zhao.

He noted MI has not been able to track much development in renewable methanol supply agreements between producers and shipowners.

“The renewable methanol supply side wants prices to be higher, but shipowners want to wait for lower prices. MI is doing a lot of work in the background to help both supply and demand sides establish a working relationship.”

Green Marine Group – Safety an important factor amidst maritime energy transition

Donnie Bagang, Managing Director of Green Marine Group and the first Chief Engineer in the world to run a methanol-fuelled tanker, emphasised the ongoing transition in the shipping industry towards cleaner fuels. He highlighted the significance of crew training and risks associated with new fuels in this changing landscape.

Bagang also gave a practical example that a simple leakage of the same rate/quantity in similar operating conditions could introduce either a minor incident for methanol fuel or life-threatening situation in the case of ammonia fuel.

Recognising the industry is now moving in the right direction formulating regulatory requirements for the new fuels, he emphasised: “We do not need to reinvent the wheel completely. Instead, we should look into our present framework, identify training gaps, and bridge those gaps.”

“All these new fuels have been transported as cargo for a very long time and having them marine fuel does not make them a different chemical.”

VPS – No need to ‘reinvent the wheel’ to use methanol as bunker fuel safely

Captain Rahul Choudhuri, President Strategic Partnerships, VPS shared the firm undertook the very first methanol bunker quantity survey (BQS) in Singapore for Maersk’s first methanol-powered container ship, the Laura Maersk.

“There were lots of precautions taken like fire training, proper sample bottles etc and the process shows there is no problem with using methanol as a bunker fuel while ensuring proper Q&Q controls are in place. The IMPCA standards for the methanol cargo industry are already in place,” said Captain Choudhuri.

“Methanol has been carried as a cargo on product tankers for many years. There is no need to reinvent the wheel and we can learn from experience gained from the cargo trading industry. VPS is ready to help shipowners manage the safe use of methanol as a marine fuel.”

Proper management of traditional fossil-based bunker fuel and its alternative variants such as biofuel will continue to be an important topic for the future, he added.

GARD – New marine fuels introduce different risk profile for vessels

Yang Yang, Senior Lawyer, Defence/Charterers & Traders Claims Asia, GARD spoke about the risks insurers take in order to support shipping’s decarbonisation journey.

“As one of the world's largest marine insurers, based on data from the tens of thousands of claim we handled each year, the risk profile between different type of vessels are very different,” said Mr Yang.

“We can make forecasts based on historical data. In terms of transition risks, we have a unique advantage due to the wealth of data that emanates from our claims portfolio. This claims data gives us a view of the risks when it comes to the industry’s performance in management of change such that the impact of change is measurable. It is likely to bring in an uptick in claims frequency, and change often comes with a price tag. For a vessel with a new fuel, insurers do not have much claims experience or data to base our assessment on. As such, insurance companies should engage all stakeholders to increase risk awareness. One thing remains important and that is proper crew training to mitigate risk. As claims start being notified, we start building our own experience and then we are able to map out risk profiles based on the fuel used for propulsion.”

DNV – Safety still important on the road towards decarbonisation

James Huang, Senior Vice President, DNV who was also moderator for the event stressed the shipping sector should not neglect safety while on the road towards decarbonisation.

“Shipping is a traditional industry and the maritime sector transports about 90% of the world’s goods. The shipping sector is transforming due to decarbonisation but traditional issues such as safety still exist,” said Mr Huang.

He noted DNV identifying three safety related risks for the shipping sector.

“The first is increased number of accidents. Based on 2022 statistics, 50% of accidents are based on machine failures much like the recent case of a containership hitting a bridge at Baltimore. The second is cybersecurity, and third is new risks posed by consumption of new marine fuels,” stated Mr Huang.

“We need to look at the whole value chain to identify and cope with risks as shipping moves to adopt new types of bunker fuels on a larger scale.”

Related: China introduces country’s first marine methanol bunkering standards 
Related: China: Chimbusco releases methanol bunkering code of practice draft to industry
Related: VPS shares its experience with methanol as a bunker fuel
Related: Baltimore bridge collapse: FuelTrust highlights bunkering activities of Singapore-registered “Dali”


Photo credit: VPS
Published: 9 April 2024

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Alternative Fuels

MTF releases safety guidelines for using alternative bunker fuels

MTF’s guidelines address potential gaps related to Safety Management Systems development and implementation; including emergency procedures; and maintenance measures.





RESIZED Venti Views on Unsplash

The Maritime Technologies Forum (MTF) on Thursday (4 April) has released guidelines highlighting recommendations for developing and implementing the Safety Management System (SMS) under the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, addressing specifically, potentially more hazardous alternative fuels used on board ships. 

This report follows last year’s publication, ‘Operational Management to Accelerate Maritime Decarbonisation’, which identified critical gaps in implementing three current regulatory Conventions and Codes.

The MTF’s guidelines address potential gaps related to Safety Management Systems (SMS) development and implementation; including emergency procedures; and maintenance measures. 

Through collaboration with industry stakeholders, MTF members developed recommendations after reviewing the ISM Code’s Part A implementation for each section.

Some of the highlights from the report may be listed as below:

  • While the experience with alternative fuels will at first be limited, the MTF guidelines outline actions for companies to develop new or strengthen existing SMS for alternative fuels on board their fleet.
  • Companies should implement a structured risk management within SMS to proactively identify improvements and learn through non-conformities, accidents and hazardous occurrences related to alternative fuels, or through other companies or pilots.
  • The SMS should be versatile to accommodate mixed fuel operations and adapt to be ready for new fuel scenarios as alternative fuels are progressively scaled and become more mainstream throughout the industry.
  • Safe operations with alternative fuels will require an assessment of the competency, training, familiarisation and resources relevant to the specific alternative fuels. The human element in the operations associated with the handling, storage and utilisation of alternative fuels is critical, and should be considered to ensure safe operations.

Teo Eng Dih, Chief Executive for the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, said: “As new fuels play a more prominent role in the maritime industry progressively, it is important for the shipping community to adopt safety by design, so that the residual risks to other vessels and the port ecosystem are reduced to a minimum.”

“MPA welcomes the development of such work to support the holistic design of new and retrofitted vessels, and to distil learning points to develop training for maritime professionals.”

Nick Brown, CEO of Lloyd’s Register, said: “These guidelines and recommendations from the MTF are an important step forward to achieving safe and sustainable operations and a great starting point to begin preparing for the use of alternative fuels.”

“The ISM Code provides a top-down approach to safety and is the ideal vehicle through which to drive training and skills for the safe handling of these fuels, not only under routine operations but also during emergencies such as equipment failures, fires, collisions, and malicious attacks.”

“Our biggest strength, however, will be learning from each other throughout the energy transition, ensuring we have a solid foundation to promote safety for our people at sea and in port.” 

Note: Download the full report by here.


Photo credit: Cameron Venti from Unsplash
Published: 8 April 2024

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