2/25/2015: Policy letters – Guidance for the use of Liquefied Natural Gas as a marine fuel

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U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, Office of Operating and Environmental Standards, published a notice to the Federal Register announcing the finalization and signing of two policy letters concerning the use of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, as fuel.

These policy letters were previously made available for public comment on February 7, 2014 and the Federal Register Notice includes explanations of changes made to the policy letters and their enclosures based on the public comments received.

The shipping industry is exploring conversion from oil-based fuel to cleaner burning natural gas, because the use of natural gas as fuel would substantially reduce carbon emissions, sulfur emissions and nitrogen oxide emissions. This natural gas fuel would be stored on and transferred to vessels in the form of LNG. Existing regulations cover design, equipment, operations and training of personnel on vessels that carry LNG as cargo and at waterfront facilities that handle LNG in bulk. They also cover conventional oil fuel transfer operations, but do not address LNG transferred as fuel.

These policy letters recommend measures that the Coast Guard believes will achieve a level of safety that is at least equivalent to that provided for traditional fueled vessels and enhance safe LNG bunkering operations

“These policies are the result of careful consultation with safety professionals, engineers and other experts,” said Capt. Robert Bailey, chief of the Coast Guard’s Office of Operating and Environmental Standards. “The policies will enable the marine industry to take full advantage of this new fuel source while protecting public safety and the environment.”

View the Federal Register notice for full details and information on the recent two policy letters.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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