IMO Fire Protection Sub-committee (FP 55)
The IMO’s Fire Protection Sub-committee (FP 55) this week set up a Working Group (WG) which reviewed the following issues:
Operational phases when inerting media should be applied.
It was agreed that the inerting of tanks may take place after a cargo tank has been loaded but before commencement of unloading, and must continue to be applied until that cargo tank is gas-free. This would help reduce the probability of congestion at the port(s) of loading and will also allow for tanks to be available for inspection prior to loading.
Inerting agents to be used in relation with the draft amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/4.5.5.
The WG considered the type of inerting agents to be used. Considering the Assembly resolution on the adoption of the Revised Recommendation for entering enclosed spaces aboard the ships as well as the Guidelines on tank entry for tankers using nitrogen as an inerting medium, (MSC.1/Circ.1401), and taking into account the human element, the WG was of the view that the use of nitrogen is only a simplification of the process.
The WG also recognised that the existing chemical tanker inerting systems use nitrogen as the inerting medium, and agreed on the use of nitrogen as the only inerting medium for chemical tankers.
Cargoes requiring oxygen-dependent inhibitors.
In light of the equivalency arrangements for the carriage of styrene monomer (MSC/Circ.879 – MEPC/Circ.348), it was agreed that the decision to inert tanks carrying low flashpoint cargoes, which also require oxygen-dependent inhibitors, should be according to the characteristics of the inhibitor.
Further, taking into account that the necessary expertise to evaluate the impact on specific cargoes lies with the Sub-committee on Bulk, Liquids and Gases (BLG), the WG invited the FP Sub-committee to request BLG 16 to consider the aforementioned views on the oxygen-dependent inhibitors, with a view to expanding the application of MSC/Circ.879 -MEPC/Circ.348 to other cargoes, as appropriate.
Allocation of the amendments.
The WG agreed that requirements to protect cargo tanks with a fixed inert gas system, or other equivalent means, should be located within the SOLAS Convention, and that any additional design, construction, functional, or operational requirements should be located in other IMO instruments.
In this connection, the WG agreed that the inerting of cargo tanks after loading is an operational matter and, therefore, should be located within the requirements of the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code).
Amendments to the IBC Code.
The WG agreed to invite the Sub-committee to request BLG 16 to:
1. prepare amendments to chapter 11 of the IBC Code to reflect the application of the draft amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/4.5.5;
2. prepare amendments to chapters 17 and 18 of the IBC Code to refer to SOLAS regulation II-2/4.5.5 and to identify the cargoes to which inerting may apply;
3. prepare draft amendments with appropriate editorial modifications for the IBC Code.
Amendments to other instruments.
In considering amendments to other instruments, the group agreed that the Fire Safety Systems (FSS) Code, Resolution A.567(14), and MSC/Circ.353 (as amended by MSC/Circ.387), should be reviewed in the context of the draft amendments to SOLAS Regulation II-2/4.5.5 and the proposed amendments to the IBC Code.
However, given time constraints, the WG was unable to complete this review and recommended that the Sub-committee invite the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) to extend the target completion year of this item to 2012 to allow for this work to be completed.
Finally, the group also agreed that the IMO publication on Inert Gas Systems should be revised and proposed the setting up of an intersessional Correspondence Group which will work on reviewing the FSS Code and its relevance with regard to the proposed changes to the inert gas requirements.
The complete report of the WG can be accessed here.
Source : IMO