In May 2014 the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee approvedamendments to SOLAS and the Fire Safety Systems Code to mandate the use of inert gas on new oil tankers of below 20,000 dwt and new chemical tankers. The amendments provide for a lower lower size limit of 8,000 dwt and allow for vessels of less than 20,000 dwt to use shore-supplied inert gas rather than install an inert gas system where appropriate.
There is also a provision for chemical tankers to have the option of dispensing with the inerting of tanks prior to loading, providing that inert gas is applied for the discharge and thereafter throughout the tank cleaning phases. Consequential amendments have also been made to the IBC Code, including regulation 15.13.5 in relation to the use of inert gas with cargoes requiring oxygen-dependent inhibitors. When such products are being carried the vessel will not inert until immediately prior to discharge and the shipper of the cargo will be required to provide details of the level of xygen necessary for the functioning of the inhibitor.
The regulations will enter into force on 1 January 2016.
The text of the amendments can be found in the Members’ Area.