Lloyd's Register issued and alert stating the IMO has amended its guidelines for the carriage of blends of petroleum oil and biofuels (Circular MEPC.1/Circ.761/Rev.1) and has also amended its guidelines and specifications for oil discharge monitoring (ODM) and control systems for oil tankers (Resolution MEPC.240(65)), as follows:
Alcohol-resistant foams for ethanol/gasoline blends Circular MEPC.1/Circ.761/Rev.1 requires:
1. oil tankers intending to carry biofuel blended cargoes containing 75% or more of petroleum oil and more than 5% of ethyl alcohol to use alcohol-resistant foam or multi-purpose foam concentrates in their cargo deck fire-fighting systems
2. chemical tankers intending to carry biofuel blends of gasoline and ethyl alcohol cargoes containing more than 1% but less than 75% of petroleum oil to use alcohol-resistant foam or multi-purpose foam concentrates in their cargo deck fire-fighting systems.
Oil discharge monitoring (ODM) systems
Resolution MEPC.240(65) requires oil tankers that are carrying biofuel blended cargoes containing 75% or more of petroleum oil on or after the January 1, 2016, and are fitted with an ODM system (Marpol Annex I, Regulation 31), to have the system approved and tested for the individual biofuel blend. This might require a modification to the (ODM) system fitted on board.
What to do now
Owners and technical managers of oil and chemical tankers must be guided by the above fire-fighting requirements when carrying applicable ethanol/gasoline blended cargos.
Owners and technical managers of oil tankers must consult the manufacturer of their ODM system in order to check whether the ODM meter is approved for the carriage of biofuel blend cargos.