The need for training requirements

Beyond purely technical measures, the risk of LNG spills and leakages can be minimized through education and training of staff. In addition, staff can and should be trained in efficient handling of any incidents, i.e. incident control and minimization of impacts.

Development of training requirements

IMO Resolution MSC.285(86) includes interim operational and training requirements for seafarers for ships using gases (or low-flashpoint fuels). In the future, guidelines are to be incorporated in the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention and Code.


A Correspondence Group of the IMO is currently working on this incorporation and in November 2013 submitted guidelines on training requirements for seafarers on board of ships. This Correspondence Group was established to develop amendments to Chapter V of the STCW Convention and Code, which has been identified as the appropriate chapter to include training requirements in this code.


Different levels of training

According to the majority of the group, the training requirements should consist of two tiers:

  • basic training for seafarers responsible for designated safety duties
  • advanced training for masters, engineers officers and all personnel with immediate responsibility for the care and use of fuels and fuel systems


At both levels, crew members are expected to contribute to the safe operation of an LNG-fuelled ship, to take precautions to prevent hazards and to respond to emergencies. The differences between the two levels are related mainly to leadership, monitoring and control tasks and more in-depth technological knowledge of both fuels and systems.


When finalised, the guidelines as developed by the Correspondence Group can be incorporated in the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low Flashpoint Fuels ( IGF code). The LNG bunkering guidelines, as currently being developed by ISO TC 67 WG, will also be in line with both the STCW requirements and the IGF code.


Certain countries hold that additional training requirements should be developed for seafarers on LNG bunker vessels to cover bunkering activities. They propose adding the level of “specialized training for marine engineer officers and ratings with immediate responsibilities for operation and maintenance of cargo related equipment used for bunkering operations.”


Further reading


The cryogenic characteristics of LNG may pose a risk to humans and materials if not handled carefully. If ignited, a gas cloud resulting from LNG release may lead to several types of fire or an explosion at flammable methane concentrations.