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Maritime Blogs

Blogs by Maritime Community

Natural Gas As Marine Fuel

Posted by on in Maritime Blog
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Gas is emerging as a significant source of clean propulsive for the global shipping industry. New emissions regulations, actual or predicted societal and customer preferences for cleaner fuels as well as high fuel oil prices, combined with expanding supplies of natural gas, are driving this trend.


Gas as fuel presents certain risks and hazards that need to be addressed. But operational reality requires that flexibility can also be accommodated in the new rules that interface effectively with risk-based approaches to dealing with novel concepts.


Classification societies have been working to ensure that shipowners, ship designers, shipbuilders, equipment manufacturers and technology developers can meet safety and performance goals by developing an approach that involves both prescriptive (rule-based) and risk-based approaches for when there are no rules.


With novel concepts there will always be challenges to address: will it work; will it work safely?


The main hazards to be addressed are related to:

– gas in non-Gas Carrier type ships

– gas fuel tank location

– vapour management

– bunkering.


Tank location is a key issue and one that has attracted much discussion. The bottom line is that most risks can be managed but the technical and commercial costs need to be addressed. With ultra large container ships a significant factor is the loss of cargo space due to the relatively high volume of gas bunker tanks compared with fuel oil volumes. While in passenger ships proximity to passenger accommodation is the big factor.


Vapour management needs to be considered and bunkering risk needs special attention

 What can be done?