The RMI is the world’s leading registry for gas carriers, with 188 LNG and LPG ships under the RMI flag in February 2018. To provide technical support for this fleet, we have assembled a group of technical experts, including individuals with over 20-30 years of experience in LNG ship management and gas carrier design and construction, such as Eric Linsner, LNG/LPG Specialist, Jason Clifton-Samuel, Safety & Technical Manager, and Warren Kedenburg, LNG Advisor.
The RMI has used this expertise by taking an active role at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in developing an international regulatory framework for the use of gas as fuel. This effort included participation in the IMO Working Groups that drafted the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF) and the amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), adding Regulation V/3 on mandatory requirements and qualifications of Masters, Officers and Ratings, and other personnel on ships subject to the IGF Code.
Beyond an understanding of the technical requirements for the design of ships meeting the IGF Code, the RMI also appreciates the operational considerations associated with the introduction of this new fuel. Representatives of the RMI have participated in the development of ISO Standard 20519:2017 on LNG bunkering and the Safety Guidelines for LNG bunkering prepared by the Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF).
With this background, the RMI has worked with shipowners on the implementation of gas fueled ships in their operations. Specifically, the RMI is in the process of reviewing programs at approved training facilities for compliance with the new crew training requirements contained in STCW Regulation V/3. Having the availability of flag State approved training courses facilitates the startup of these ships. Similarly, the RMI has worked with shipowners in discussions with coastal States to ensure acceptance of their gas fueled ships with consistent requirements designed to achieve the desired level of safety.
Although the transportation of liquefied gas is not a new technology, its widespread use as a marine fuel represents a new application which requires understanding and experience for the transition to be accomplished safely and efficiently. In this case, the selection of a technically qualified flag at an early stage in the project is an important consideration.