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Ship Standards

IMO IGC code

The purpose of the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code) is to provide an international standard to ensure the safety of gas carriers. The IGC focuses on LNG as cargo, not as fuel. The code includes prescriptions for the design and construction of the ships and onboard equipment in order to minimise the risks associated with LNG transport. This includes requirements for the materials of construction, ventilation, electric installations and fire protection.

IMO IGF code

Because the IGC code does not cover LNG as fuel, the IMO’s Marine Safety Committee has proposed the development of a code for non-LNG carriers using LNG as a fuel. This new “International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low Flashpoint Fuels” (IGF Code) is planned to come into force in 2016/2017 and is currently being prepared by IMO’s Bulk and Liquid Gases (BLG) subcommittee. As the name already suggests, the IGF code covers not only LNG, but also other low-flashpoint fuels like methanol. The broad scope of this code is one of the reasons why development is taking a long time and non-agreement on other low-flashpoint fuels may hinder the overall LNG standardisation process.


The IGF code will eventually replace Chapter 16 of the IGC code, which deals with gas as fuel, and will also replace the interim guideline MSC 285 (86). The IGF code will include requirements similar to those in the IGC code, but also requirements for the ship’s bunkering station (including the ventilation of this station) and manifold.


A main drawback of the IGF code is that it focuses specifically on requirements for the receiving vessel, and not on the technical and operational requirements for bunkering operations.

MSC 285 (86)

Until the approval and entry into force of the IGF code in 2016, the Interim Guideline MSC.285(86) sets criteria for LNG-fuelled machinery. With the interim guideline, IMO aims to already achieve a certain level of safety and reliability. Ships built in line with this guideline will also be allowed to operate after 2016. In this way, the industry can still continue to build LNG-fuelled vessels while the standardisation process is still ongoing.


Most classification societies have developed their own guidelines based on these interim guidelines and added additional, class-specific requirements of their own.

Further reading

Bunkering checklist

IAPH’s WPCI LNG working group has developed harmonized bunkering checklists for LNG operations in ports. Implemented harmonized bunker checklists will be of great benefit to the vessels bunkering LNG in different ports, as this will reduce the potential for confusion caused by having to comply with different rules and regulations in different ports.