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DRYDOCKING GUIDELINES PUBLISHED FOR GAS-FUELLED SHIPS

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 

The Society for Gas as Marine Fuel (SGMF) has published new guidance on work practices for maintenance, repair and drydock operations for ships that use gas/LNG as fuel to help ensure the safe maintenance of gas-fuelled ships.

SGMF understands that an increasing number of ships will switch to using gas, catalysed by increased international regulatory focus on reducing environmental impact and emissions by the IMO.

However, shipping companies who use gas as a marine fuel will need to be prepared for when their gas-fuelled ships undergo routine maintenance in dry dock. While cargo is normally removed from a vessel as part of the drydocking process, sometimes fuel is not.

With 185 gas fuelled ships in active service and with another 212 on order, the release of this publication is said to be timely since it is important that prior to any docking ship owner, operator or manager and the shipyard all fully understand the safety requirements of the gas fuel management during the dry docking period.

For ships using gas fuel, such as LNG, a rigorous approach must be undertaken to maintain safety. The guidance details techniques and precautions that can be applied to minimise the hazards of LNG/gaseous fuels – in many cases, allowing the use of traditional maintenance techniques. Where this is not possible, the guidance discusses alternative methods.

The guidance offers a risk assessment approach and covers all aspects of LNG fuel management while preparing for the docking and during the docking process. Furthermore, it provides the required details and direction for ship owners to select prequalified shipyards.

Mark Bell, GM, SGMF said: “I am really proud to see that yet another unique and much needed publication has been compiled by SGMF, drawn together by our expert members under the guidance of David Haynes, Principal Safety Advisor to SGMF. As more and more ships start to use gas fuels, the industry is now equipped with the reference document to ensure the safe maintenance and drydocking of gas-fuelled ships.”

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