ISO issues new International Standard for LNG bunkering

FEBRUARY 13, 2017 — A new International Standard — ISO 20519, Ships and marine technology – Specification for bunkering of liquefied natural gas fueled vessels — will help operators select vessel fuel providers that meet defined safety and fuel quality standards.

In recent years, the ships and vessels fueled with LNG have become larger, transit greater distances and may bunker in a greater number of ports in different countries. As a result, the number of parties involved in LNG bunkering is growing rapidly.

Standardizing safety practices has become necessary to ensure that, no matter where the bunkering took place, there can be a common set of requirements that isunderstood across the board – from LNG provider to ships' personnel.

ISO 20519 contains requirements that are not covered by the IGC Code, the prevailing international code for the safe carriage by sea of liquefied gases in bulk. It includes the following items:

  • Hardware: liquid and vapor transfer systems
  • Operational procedures
  • Requirement for the LNG provider to provide an LNG bunker delivery note
  • Training and qualifications of personnel involved
  • Requirements for LNG facilities to meet applicable ISO standards and local codes

"The requirements of ISO 20519 can be incorporated as a management objective into existing management programs and provide verifiable compliance," says Steve O'Malley, convenor of the ISO ]working group WG 8 that developed the standard.

He notes that "the requirement to comply with ISO standards is often incorporated into business contracts and may also be referenced by local regulations."

The working group that developed ISO 20519 included specialists from the maritime industry, equipment manufacturers, the Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF), trading companies, class societies, international registries and the U.S. Coast Guard. This sharing of knowledge was important to produce a standard that was both practical and would promote safety during LNG bunkering operations.

The use of LNG as a vessel fuel is relatively new, so the standard will need to be brought up to date periodically to incorporate lessons learned over time and technological changes. To facilitate this, a group has been created to track LNG bunkering incidents and help identify when the standard should be updated.

ISO 20519:2017 was produced at the request of IMO, the European Commission and the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), the world's largest international shipping association.

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