Work at IMO on drafting the International Code for Ships using Gas or other Low Flash-Point Fuels (IGF Code) is progressing but the diversity of the subject has required a steady, methodical approach. The workings of the IMO rulemaking process are such that the entry-into-force date for the new regime is still several years away.
When the IGF Code does enter force, it will revoke the current IGF Interim Guideline, which only covers LNG and internal combustion engines, as well as Chapter 16 of the International Gas Carrier (IGC) IGC Code. While the IGF Code will also lay down requirements for the bunker station, it will not address bunker vessels because they are covered by the IGC Code.
Because IMO is currently between the relevant sub-committee sessions, development work on the IGF Code is being progressed via correspondence group. While the primary focus of the group remains the use of LNG as marine fuel, it has also been tasked by IMO to address methyl alcohol and low-flash diesel fuels. Once work on these three fuels has been completed, other potential low flash-point fuels, such as LPG, will be addressed.
While a considerable amount of work on the final regime has now been accomplished, the next full IMO sub-committee meeting dealing with the IGF Code will not meet until autumn 2014. As a result approval of the IGF Code cannot be expected before the 94th Session of the parent Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 94) in November 2014. Because this would then need to be followed by a review period and formal adoption, the earliest possible entry-into-force date for the IGF Code is now July 2017. LNG