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SGMF releases guidelines for drydocking gas-fuelled ships

Shiprepair & Maintenance: June 2020SR&M Interim 2 SGMF

Guidelines to improve the safety of maintenance, repair and drydock operations for gas/LNG-fuelled vessels has been published by the Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF), which has been developed through the technical experience as well as knowledge of the society’s member network.


According to SGMF, the shipping industry will witness an increasing number of vessels switching to gas as a fuel in the future, with international regulations for reducing environmental impact and emissions from IMO acting as a catalyst.


Shipowners, operators and managers must fully grasp the rigorous safety requirements required for gas fuel management during the drydocking period, when the vessel will potentially undergo routine maintenance, and where cargo is regularly removed but not always fuel, the society states. This is a particularly crucial matter as, at the time of publication, 185 gas-fuelled vessels are in operation and a further 212 are on order, SGMF adds.


Mark Bell, general manager at SGMF, comments: “As more and more ships start to use gas fuels, the industry is now equipped with the reference document to ensure the safe maintenance and drydocking of gas-fuelled ships.”


SGMF’s new ‘Gas as a Marine Fuel: Work Practices for Maintenance, Repair and Dry-Dock Operations’ guidelines outline a risk assessment-based approach to all aspect of gas fuel management prior to and throughout the drydocking process, as well as required information and direction for shipowners to select prequalified shipyards.



Techniques and precautions detailed in the guidelines can be utilised to minimise LNG/gaseous fuel hazards in order to continue using traditional maintenance methods. The document also details alternative maintenance techniques that can be employed in conditions where these precautionary methods are impossible to implement.


The philosophy, methodology and content found within its publication can be drawn upon by local, national and international regulatory authorities regarding gas-fuelled ship maintenance, SGMF adds, as well as inform shipyards on becoming LNG ready.


While the society confirms that its guidelines provides the bulk of gas fuel management details, it recommends that an LNG specialist is appointed within the fleet and the shipyard to ensure that shipowners, operators and managers understand the consequences of using LNG onboard their vessels.