The Independent Association of Classification Societies (IACS) Council, chaired by Nick Brown, CEO Lloyds Register, at its 85th session, recognised the challenge of ensuring that ambitious targets with expedited timescales for decarbonisation are delivered safely and with the necessary technical underpinning to facilitate early investment by key stakeholders.
It has established a Safe-Decarbonisation Panel (SDP) and thus sends a clear signal of IACS’ determination to support industry through this multi-faceted, multi-decadal challenge. Giving decarbonisation the same focus as the traditional areas of Safety, Environment, Hull, Machinery, Survey & Cyber significantly enhances the association’s ability to address safe decarbonisation concerns and support the protection of human life, property and the marine environment.
To help deliver common technical requirements at speed, the SDP will immediately convene four project teams to work on leading decarbonisation fuels and technologies. While IACS remains technologically agnostic, extensive discussions with industry – itself a key feature and objective of the SDP – indicate that initial efforts should be focused on Ammonia, Hydrogen, Carbon Capture & Storage and Batteries. Additionally, the SDP will evaluate current work streams at IMO on Methyl/ethyl Alcohols with a view to undertaking further work as appropriate. Other alternative fuels and technologies will be considered by the SDP subsequently.
Recognising that efforts to decarbonise need to be collaborative to be successful, the SDP has adopted a structured consultative approach so that all stakeholders – fuel manufacturers, technology providers, owners, builders and marine insurance – have multiple and multi-layered opportunities to engage with IACS at strategic, operational and technical levels.
Such close cooperation will help focus prioritisation, maximise efficiency and remove duplication and allow for the resulting outputs to be properly targeted either in the form of IACS Resolutions or recommendations or submissions to IMO to support the development of detailed regulations. Collectively, this work will help encourage industry to invest in new fuels/technologies by offering a degree of reassurance that standards are being harmonized and technologies are proven against these requirements.
Brown said: “IACS’ establishment of a Safe Decarbonisation Panel allows for an over-arching view on new initiatives, whether they be related to the propulsion of the vessels or to the changing nature of the cargoes ships will carry as a result of societal efforts to decarbonize, and so marks a step-change in embedding a safety-focus into this industry-wide effort.”