A range of safety issues will need to be overcome before ammonia can be used as a marine fuel. File Image / Pixabay
A new report from industry body Together in Safety has set out the safety implications of using a variety of alternative rules, identifying some 'intolerable' risks associated with ammonia that need to be resolved before it can be used at scale as a bunker fuel.
The report, published this week, examines and compares the safety profiles of ammonia, methanol, hydrogen and LNG when used for bunkering.
Together in Safety is a coalition bringing together all of the major shipping industry bodies to consider safety issues. The working group for the future fuels risk report included representatives from APM Terminals, Carnival Corporation, Chevron, Euronav, Lloyd's Register, Mærsk, MSC Ship Management, OCIMF and Shell.
The report finds the highest level of risk for ammonia as an alternative bunker fuel, identifying seven scenarios with intolerable risks associated with them. These included a collision leading to a hull breach and spills during bunkering.
"A number of risks for ammonia as a fuel are classified as High (Intolerable), and as such the hazards should be eliminated, substituted or sufficient controls put in place to significantly reduce the risk to with medium or a low risk rating," the organisation said in the report.
"Across all the fuels there are a number of medium risk rating, whilst these may be accepted as tolerable, every effort must be demonstrated that the risks have been reduced to be As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP).
"The recommendations can be defined in areas of responsibility between design, operator, regulators and ports.
"This report is produced to enable those stakeholders to ensure the risks raised and identified are dealt with in further projects, and further risk fed back to 'Together in Safety' to incorporate into future updates.
"Regardless of the vessel's fuel, there are scenarios where vessels shall come across another vessel operating on a different fuel, and thereby having potentially a different and unknown risk category.
"This could be through port operations, collision, rescue or grounding.
"It is the intention of 'Together in Safety' to work collectively within the industry to address this challenge."