In the paper, OCIMF said that it fully supported the IMO introduction (from 1st January, 2016) of the mandatory fitting to newbuild tankers of 8,000 dwt and over, of an inert gas system when carrying flammable cargoes, introduced on 1st January, 2016.
The organisation said that it encouraged the fitting of inert gas systems to all new tankers carrying flammable oil cargoes, regardless of size and also suggested that companies should consider retro-actively fitting inert gas systems to existing tankers carrying flammable oil cargoes, not already covered by the SOLAS inert gas requirements.
OCIMF director, Andrew Cassels, said “The safety benefits of inert gas in cargo tanks are well recognised throughout the tanker industry. Over the years many lives have been lost, or serious injuries sustained, due to incidents involving fires and explosions in cargo tanks on non-inerted tankers transporting flammable oil cargoes. The installation of an inert gas system on oil tankers of all sizes that carry flammable oil cargoes is both technically and operationally feasible.
“In summary, OCIMF considers there are considerable safety benefits if oil tankers that carry flammable oil cargoes are designed and fitted with a SOLAS compliant inert gas system and operated in such a manner that cargo tanks are maintained in an inert condition,” he said.