The Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO) has announced that it has established the Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF) – a non-governmental organisation (NGO) to help enhance the safety and best practices in the use of Liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel. SIGTTO says that while the use of LNG as a ship fuel lies outside outside the Society’s terms of reference, its knowledge and experience of liquefied gas handling, including in the use of cargo boiloff gas in LNG carrier propulsion systems, will be invaluable to the nascent LNG bunkering sector.
“The use of LNG as a marine fuel presents a major challenge for the shipping industry over the coming years,” said SIGTTO president, Luc Gillet. “I am pleased that SIGTTO is playing a leading role in the launch of this new NGO. We believe that our participation will yield benefits for not only the gas shipping industry but also the general maritime community.”
SIGTTO says the creation of the new Society was prompted by the absence of any other industry body dealing with the technical and safety issues associated with the use of LNG as ship fuel. As a first step SIGTTO was instrumental in establishing the cross-industry Natural Gas Marine Fuel Safety Advisory Group in July 2012 to advise on the design, operation, maintenance and training for natural gas marine fuel systems. The initiative has now been taken a stage further with creation of SGMF as a formal NGO.
Andrew Clifton, SIGTTO General Manager, says, “This new industry body is a major step forward in the enhancement of safety and best practices covering the use of LNG as marine fuel. All stakeholders are urged to support and join SGMF.”
SGMF has been established to encourage the safe and responsible operations of vessels using LNG as fuel and all marine activities relating to the supply of LNG used for fuel; to develop advice and guidance for best industrial practice among its members; and to promote criteria for best practice to all who have responsibilities for, or an interest in, the use of LNG as marine fuel. LNG carriers using cargo boiloff gas for fuel are not included within the scope of the new Society’s area of responsibility but the use of any other liquefied gas as a ship fuel is.
In advocating measures to enhance safety in the use of LNG as fuel for shipping internationally, SGMF will represent the interests of its members at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) once its NGO status is formally recognised by that body. It will consult with IMO, government agencies and other non-governmental organisations in exercising this principal role.
SGMF membership will be open to the main stakeholders involved in the LNG bunkering supply chain, i.e. bunker suppliers, shipowners, bunker barge operators, port authorities and regulators.
The new society will be a non-profit-making organisation registered in Bermuda and will have a London liaison office. SGMF is expected to be open for membership later in the summer.