Sub-Committee on Bulk Liquids and Gases (BLG): 17th session, 4 to 8 February 2013

February 8, 2013

Revised IGC Code agreed by Sub-Committee
The draft revised International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (the IGC Code) was agreed by the Sub-Committee on Bulk Liquids and Gases (BLG) when it met for its 17th session.  
The revised Code has been developed following a comprehensive five-year review and is intended to take into account the latest advances in science and technology. It will be submitted to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 92) in June, for approval, with a view to adoption at MSC 93 in 2014. 
The IGC Code was first adopted in 1983, to provide an international standard for the safe carriage by sea of liquefied gases (and other substances listed in the Code) in bulk, by prescribing the design and construction standards of ships carrying such cargoes, and the equipment they should carry. The IGC Code was made mandatory under the SOLAS convention for new ships built after 1986.  Various amendments have been adopted since then, but the new draft represents the first major revision of the IGC Code. Provisions of the revised IGC Code will apply to new ships, unless expressly stated otherwise. 
Parallel work continued during the session to develop the new international code of safety for ships using gases or other low-flash point fuels (IGF Code), which included preparation of draft amendments to SOLAS to make the IGF Code mandatory. Once finalized, both the draft IGF Code and SOLAS amendments will be put forward to the MSC for approval and adoption as a package. The draft IGF Code focuses on liquid natural gas as fuel but is also intended to cover other low flashpoint fuels.
A correspondence group was re-established to continue the work on finalizing the draft IGF Code and related SOLAS amendments. 
BWM convention guidance on sampling and analysis agreed
The Sub-Committee finalized a draft circular on Guidance concerning ballast water sampling and analysis for trial use, for approval by MEPC 65.
The circular provides general recommendations on methodologies and approaches to sampling and analysis to test for compliance with the D-1 and D 2 standards of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (BWM Convention). It includes a discussion of the principles of sampling, accompanied by a list of recommended methods and approaches for analysis and sampling protocols available for compliance testing; and background information on sampling and analysis methodologies and approaches. 
The Sub-Committee agreed that the length of the trial period should be two to three years following entry into force of the Convention, but encouraged Member States to begin using the sampling and analysis procedures for scientific and research purposes and to report their findings to the Sub-Committee.
The Sub-Committee also agreed a draft revised MEPC resolution regarding information reporting on type-approved ballast water management systems (MEPC.175(58)), for consideration by MEPC 65, with a view to adoption. The revised resolution expands on the information Member States are invited to submit to the Organization, when approving a ballast water management system, including providing the test results of each land-based and shipboard test run and the protocol according to which testing was undertaken, with specific details on the testing. 
In addition, draft amendments to the Guidance for Administrations on the type approval process for ballast water management systems in accordance with Guidelines (G8) (BWM.2/Circ.28), were agreed, to expand on the information needed for type approval, for approval by MEPC 65.
A further draft circular relating to implementation of the BWM Convention provides Options for ballast water management for offshore support vessels in accordance with the BWM Convention, for approval by MEPC 65. 
NOx technical Code amendments and MARPOL Annex VI guidelines agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft amendments to the NOx Technical Code, 2008, concerning use of dual-fuel engines, for approval by MEPC 65 with a view to subsequent adoption.
It also agreed draft guidelines, as required by regulation 13.2.2 of MARPOL Annex VI, in respect of non-identical replacement engines not required to meet the Tier III limit; and a draft unified interpretation on the “time of the replacement or addition” of an engine for the applicable NOx Tier standard for the supplement to the IAPP Certificate.
Draft amendments to the IBC Code relating to inerting agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft consequential amendments to the IBC Code, relating to cargo tank venting and gas-freeing arrangements, relating to the development of measures to prevent explosions on oil and chemical tankers transporting low flashpoint cargoes, for consideration and subsequent approval by MEPC 65 and MSC 92. MSC 92 will consider draft amendments to SOLAS to require the installation of inert gas systems on board new oil and chemical tankers of 8,000 dwt and above, carrying low-flashpoint (below 60°C) cargoes, developed by the Sub-Committee on Fire Protection (FP).
Revised Guidelines for Oil Discharge Monitoring and Control Systems agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft amendments to the Revised Guidelines and Specifications for Oil Discharge Monitoring and Control Systems for Oil Tankers (resolution MEPC.108(49)), to include requirements for bio-fuel blend containing 75 per cent or more of petroleum oil.  The amendments will be submitted to the MEPC for adoption.
Guidance on evaluating Biofouling Guidelines agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed a draft MEPC circular on Guidance for evaluating the 2011 Guidelines for the control and management of ships' biofouling to minimize the transfer of invasive aquatic species for approval by MEPC 65, and encouraged Member Governments and interested organizations to submit information on the application of the 2011 Biofouling Guidelines  to the BLG Sub-Committee.
The 2011 Biofouling Guidelines provide a globally consistent approach to managing biofouling by providing useful recommendations on general measures to minimize the risks associated with biofouling for all types of ships, while the aim of the guidance is to assist Member States and observers who wish to collect information needed to undertake future reviews of the Guidelines, to do so in a more consistent way. The draft Guidance identifies the types of performance measures that could help to assist in evaluating the different recommendations in the Guidelines.  
Black carbon emissions discussed
The Sub-Committee discussed the report of a correspondence group relating to the impact on the Arctic of emissions of black carbon from international shipping and agreed on the need for further work on the topic. The correspondence group was re-established to develop a technical definition for black carbon emissions from international shipping as the basis for any future measurement methods; and to further consider measurement methods and possible control measures.
Review of safety criteria guidelines in chapter 21 of the IBC Code continued
The Sub-Committee continued its review of safety criteria guidelines in chapter 21 of the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code), to address inconsistencies in chapters 17 and 18. It is intended to complete the review process by 2014. 
New products evaluated for IBC Code 
The Sub-Committee approved the report of the Evaluation of Safety and Pollution Hazards (ESPH) Working Group, including the evaluation of two new substances and their consequential inclusion in the IBC Code; the evaluation of cleaning additives; and the  evaluation of three new mixture products for List 3 of the MEPC.2/Circular.
OSV Chemical Code further progressed
The Sub-Committee continued its work on developing the draft Code for the Transport and Handling of Limited Amounts of Hazardous and Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk in Offshore Support Vessels (OSV Chemical Code) and re-established the correspondence group to further the work.