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MSC endorses IBIA proposal to clarify new flashpoint regulation

IBIA’s paper provides a UI to help clarify meaning of SOLAS amendment that was adopted at MSC 106 regarding supplier’s declaration of flashpoint prior to delivery, and on bunker delivery note.





The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) on Tuesday (13 June) released an article on its proposal to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) for a unified interpretation (UI) of new regulatory text about documentation of flashpoint in SOLAS chapter II-2 which it could clear up any possible misunderstandings on the SOLAS Amendment that was adopted at MSC 106:

IBIA’s proposal for a unified interpretation (UI) of new regulatory text about documentation of flashpoint in SOLAS chapter II-2 received overwhelming support at the 107th session of the IMO’s Martine Safety Committee (MSC 107).

Our paper, MSC 107/6/2, provided a UI to help clarify the meaning of the SOLAS amendment that was adopted at MSC 106 regarding the supplier’s declaration of flashpoint prior to delivery, and on the bunker delivery note (BDN). This SOLAS amendment is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2026.

We also suggested that MSC should invite the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) to adopt a corresponding UI for a corresponding new requirement under appendix V of MARPOL Annex VI, which is due to enter into force on 1 May 2024.

Introducing the paper at MSC 107, IBIA Director and IMO Representative Unni Einemo said: “During deliberations at the Drafting Group at MSC 106 prior to adoption of the amendments, and subsequently in interactions with industry participants, it has become evident that while this is perfectly clear and logical to those who have participated in developing the regulatory text, it is not equally clear to relevant stakeholders who are not familiar with the thinking behind it; including port State control officers, ship engineers and oil fuel suppliers. That means, the amendments could be open to misunderstandings, which is concerning and unhelpful if various parties have different ideas about what the regulation actually means. We have therefore proposed a UI to help provide clarity.”

MSC 107 noted overwhelming support for the UI proposed by IBIA in document MSC 107/6/2 and that concurrent action should be recommended to MEPC. However, one delegation raised concerns, meaning the UI could not be approved as a UI can only be approved if there are no objections at all.

Given the strong support in plenary, however, MSC 107 sent IBIA’s proposal to the Working Group (WG) on Fuel Oil Safety established at MSC 107 to further consider the document and advise the Committee how best to proceed.

The new Regulation 4.6 of SOLAS chapter II-2 says that “ships carrying oil fuel shall prior to bunkering be provided with a declaration signed and certified by the oil fuel supplier’s representative, that the oil fuel to be supplied is in conformity with paragraph 2.1 of this regulation, and the test method used for determining the flashpoint. A bunker delivery note for the oil fuel delivered to the ship shall contain either the flashpoint specified in accordance with standards acceptable to the Organization, or a statement that the flashpoint has been measured at or above 70ºC;” 

IBIA proposed the following Unified Interpretation:  

The test method will provide a specified temperature when an ignition source produces a “flash” in the sample. If this flash occurs when the sample has been heated to a temperature below 70°C, this temperature should be reported on the bunker delivery note. If, however, the sample is heated to 70°C and then tested without producing a flash, there will not be an actual measured flashpoint temperature to report, but this is sufficient to establish that the flashpoint is above the 60°C minimum and thus allow for a statement to be made that the flashpoint has been measured at or above 70°C. If heating and testing of the sample has been carried out beyond 70°C and produced a flash, there will be a specific temperature that can be reported, but it should be understood that undertaking or continuing the test beyond 70°C is not required.

One delegation expressed a concern specifically about the part reading: “but it should be understood that undertaking or continuing the test beyond 70°C is not required.” This delegation seemed to think that this would materially change the regulation. During discussions in the WG it became clear, however, that their objection related to the regulation itself, as the delegation was of the opinion that the regulation should require the BDN to state the actual flashpoint of fuels delivered to a ship, even when that temperature is above 70°C.

Nevertheless, in order to reach agreement, the WG agreed to delete that part of the sentence. After removing that part of the text, MSC 107 endorsed the remaining text as a “mutual understanding” subject to the entry into force of SOLAS regulation II-2/, and invited the MEPC to note the decision and take action as appropriate.

IBIA understands that MEPC 81, which is scheduled to take place in late April next year, will be invited to consider the text endorsed by MSC 107.

MEPC 81 is scheduled to take place just prior to the entry into force of amendments to MARPOL Annex VI regarding flashpoint documentation on the BDN.


Photo credit: International Bunker Industry Association
Published: 21 June, 2023

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HD KSOE receives Lloyd’s Register AiP for ammonia fuel supply system

Fuel supply system addresses the pressing need for sustainable fuel solutions, significantly contributing to efforts aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the global fleet, says LR.





HD KSOE receives LR AiP for ammonia fuel supply system

Classification society Lloyd’s Register (LR) has granted Approval in Principle (AiP) to HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (HD KSOE) for their ammonia fuel supply system, which will be used on ammonia new constructions.

The newly developed ammonia fuel supply system shows complete compatibility with high-efficiency cargo handling systems and ammonia engines.

The approval certifies the fuel supply system against LR’s rigorous risk-based certification (RBC-1) process and marks the successful conclusion of a Joint Development Project (JDP) between LR and HD KSOE, which began in April 2024.

The primary objective of the JDP was to develop and refine the design concept of an ammonia fuel supply system for ammonia-fuelled vessels.

LR said the AiP represents the substantial step that LR and HD KSOE have taken towards pioneering innovative solutions for emission reduction in the maritime industry.

“Ammonia, with its capacity to meet the rising demand for emission reduction solutions, represents a promising alternative fuel for the maritime industry,” it said.

“This fuel supply system addresses the pressing need for sustainable fuel solutions, significantly contributing to efforts aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the global fleet.”  

Young-Doo Kim, Global Technical Support Office Representative for Korea, Lloyd’s Register, said: “This approval in principle represents another significant step for developing the technology required for shipowners and operators' adoption of ammonia, one of the primary candidate fuels for the maritime energy transition.”

“We are pleased to continue our strong working relationship with HD KSOE through this joint project that will provide a valuable solution for ammonia propelled ships.”

Young-jun Nam, Vice Present & COO of HD KSOE, said: “Ammonia is a zero-carbon fuel that is attracting great attention in terms of economics and supply stability. HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering will lead the field of eco-friendly equipment and materials to take the lead in commercialising ammonia in 2025.”


Photo credit: Lloyd’s Register
Published: 25 June, 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Erik Thun takes delivery of LNG dual-fuel tanker “Thun Vettern”

Vessel, which is the latest contribution to the Vinga-series, has dual-fuel capability, runs on LNG/LBG or gasoil and is fully equipped for shore power connection when available in ports.





Erik Thun takes delivery of LNG dual-fuel tanker “Thun Vettern”

Shipping firm Erik Thun on Monday (24 June) said it has taken delivery of Thun Vettern, a 17,999-dwt vessel, which was built by China Merchants Jinling Shipyard in Yangzhou.

The vessel is an upgraded version of the sister Thun Venern. Thun Vettern is the latest contribution to the “Vinga-series”, all trading within the Gothia Tanker Alliance. The Thun Vettern is the newest and latest edition to the Vinga-series and she has ice class 1A. 

The vessels in the Vinga-series all have dual-fuel capability, run on LNG/LBG or gasoil and are fully equipped for shore power connection when available in ports.

They are designed with a battery hybrid solution and several innovative features that reduce fuel and energy consumption, resulting in extensively lowered emissions of CO2, sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide and hazardous particles. 

The firm said the ships have scored the best Energy Efficiency Design Index or EEDI value in their segment globally, meaning that they are the most energy efficient vessels according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). 

The Vinga-series is designed for the intense and demanding trade in the North Sea and Scandinavia, well suited to meet the growing European demand for biofuels and renewable feedstocks.

Erik Thun´s close partner Furetank will technically and commercially manage the new vessel which upon delivery will enter into the Gothia Tanker Alliance network.

“Sustainability work has always been and will be a focus ahead for Erik Thun. To take delivery of a resource efficient, top performing product tanker like Thun Vettern, and further deepen our good and long-term co-operation with Furetank is a great example of our vision to be a sustainable Swedish partner over generations,” said Johan Källsson, Managing Director at Erik Thun AB.


Photo credit: Erik Thun
Published: 25 June, 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Wärtsilä on LNG bunker fuel: Expert answers to 17 important questions

Firm gives an expert overview on top questions on LNG bunker fuel including if LNG is a future fuel and what does LNG being a transition fuel means.





RESIZED Chris Pagan

Technology group Wärtsilä on Wednesday (19 June) gave an expert overview on top 17 questions related to LNG bunker fuel in this insight article including if LNG is a future fuel: 

Your choice of fuel affects both your profitability and your vessel’s environmental compliance. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a safe and cost-effective fuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants. LNG is playing a key role as a transition fuel and is widely seen as the first step towards decarbonising the maritime industry.

Switching to LNG as fuel for ship propulsion requires investment but can save you fuel costs, increase your profitability and reduce compliance risks. The expert answers to these 17 questions will tell you what you need to know about LNG as an alternative fuel for shipping.

What is LNG?

LNG is natural gas that has been cooled to -162°C (-260°F), turning it into a clear, odourless liquid that is easy to ship and store. LNG is typically 85–95% methane, which contains less carbon than other forms of fossil fuels. It is a compact, efficient form of energy that is ideal for ship propulsion.

What is LNG used for?

LNG is primarily used as a clean-burning energy source. It is used for electricity generation, heating, cooking, and as a transportation fuel. LNG is also used as a raw material for products like fertilisers and plastics.

In the shipping industry, LNG as fuel is used for ship propulsion, auxiliary power generation and other onboard energy needs. LNG as an alternative fuel for shipping has gained wide popularity due to its clean-burning properties and potential to help meet stricter emissions regulations.

What are the sources of LNG as fuel for ships? What is bioLNG?

LNG as fuel for ships is produced from natural gas extracted from underground reserves, including both onshore and offshore gas fields.

BioLNG is LNG produced from biogas, which is generated from organic waste like food scraps, agricultural waste, manure and sewage sludge. BioLNG is considered a renewable fuel and can further reduce the carbon footprint of ships using LNG fuel systems.

 Is LNG just methane?

LNG is primarily methane (typically 85–95%), but it also contains small amounts of ethane, propane and other hydrocarbons. LNG can also contain trace amounts of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. The exact composition of LNG may vary depending on the source of the natural gas and the liquefaction process used.

 LNG fuel vs. fuel oil: is LNG better than diesel?

Compared to diesel fuel oil, LNG offers several advantages. LNG produces significantly lower emissions when burned, including:

  • 20–30% less CO2 
  • 15-25% less total GHG
  • 90% less NOx 
  • 99% less SOx 
  • Almost no particulate matter (PM) 

LNG engines are also quieter. 

However, LNG has a lower energy density than diesel, so using LNG as an alternative fuel for shipping will require more fuel and therefore larger fuel tanks to achieve the same range.

 What are the advantages and disadvantages of LNG fuel?

The key advantages of LNG as fuel include reduced emissions and cost competitiveness. There is also an established and continuously growing global network of LNG bunkering facilities.

The disadvantages of using LNG as fuel for ships include the need for specialised equipment and training and the potential for methane slip.

Methane slip is when unburned methane, a potent greenhouse gas, escapes into the atmosphere. Modern dual-fuel engines will minimise this issue. Depending on engine type and load, you can reduce methane slip by up to 65% by upgrading your ship’s existing engines. Over the last 30 years, Wärtsilä has reduced the methane slip from its engines by around 90%.

 Is LNG environmentally friendly?

LNG is cleaner burning than traditional marine fuels, but it is still a fossil fuel. BioLNG, which is LNG produced from organic waste or biomass, can be considered a more sustainable alternative to fossil-based LNG as it has a lower carbon footprint. However, the production and combustion of bioLNG still emit some greenhouse gases. LNG can be seen as a bridging fuel in the transition to alternative fuels like methanol and ammonia, which aren’t yet widely available at scale.

 Is LNG a future fuel?

LNG both is and isn’t a future fuel. It enables lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduces other harmful air pollutants compared to fuel oil, but it is still a fossil fuel. Sustainable future fuels are crucial for maritime decarbonisation, but the current cost, limited availability and insufficient infrastructure are challenging for operators. This gives LNG an important role to play in the shipping industry’s transition to a zero-carbon future.

As more ports develop LNG bunkering infrastructure and more ships are built with LNG fuel systems, the use of LNG as an alternative fuel for shipping is expected to increase. LNG is considered a stepping stone on the path to decarbonisation as the industry moves closer to using true future fuels such as methanol and ammonia.

Note: The full article by Wärtsilä can be found here.


Photo credit: Chris Pagan on Unsplash
Published: 24 June, 2024

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