The International Code for Ships using Gases and other Low Flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code) will take effect on 1 January, 2017, providing a clear legislative framework for ships to install LNG fuel systems. Specific provisions for ships to use other fuels with flashpoint below 60°C have yet to be developed.
The IGF Code will apply to all vessels above 500 gross tonnage that install low flashpoint fuel systems. It has been made mandatory through the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).
Vessels planning to install fuel systems for other types of low flashpoint fuels would be required to demonstrate compliance with the functional requirements of the IGF Code through alternative design.
Work on developing regulations for low flashpoint fuels other than gas is ongoing the International Maritime Organization (IMO), at the Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC), which reports to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC).
CCC has been making progress on a new set of specific technical provisions in the IGF Code for ships to use methyl/ethyl alcohol (which includes methanol) as a fuel. It has not, however, been able to begin work on a new chapter of the IGF Code to deal with diesel fuels with a flashpoint between 52°C and 60°C as there has only been preliminary discussion but no concrete input.
At present, ships that have LNG or other low flashpoint fuel systems need to obtain permits from each port authority or the maritime administration in the countries where they call, but from 2017, vessels built and approved in accordance with the IGF Code will be able to trade freely around the world. These vessel will have SOLAS certificates to confirm that the requirements of the IGF-Code are met for a specific type of fuel.