Genoa-based verification, certification and ship classification group RINA has published a new notation GAS FUELLED SHIPS which establishes requirements for the use of liquefied or compressed natural gas (LNG or CNG) on board ship as an alternative to traditional fuels. It is designed to  give the industry a regulatory tool to ensure that the arrangement and installation on board of machinery using this type of fuel are such as to provide a level of integrity, from the point of view of safety and reliability, equivalent to that of a conventional installation.

RINA notes that the use of natural gas as a fuel provides the advantages of a total reduction in sulphur oxide emissions, a considerable reduction in nitric oxide emissions, a twenty per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and competitive prices at current costs and estimates for the near future.

The new notation was approved at the annual meeting of RINA’s Technical Committee, which provides technical oversight of RINA’s rules for ship classification, held today in the RINA offices in Rome, alongside the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the founding of RINA. The meeting was chaired by Umberto Masucci, Chairman of the Ship and Aircraft Brokers and Agents Fund (FAMA) and Vice Chairman of the Federation of the Sea.

Other major new rules discussed included requirements for permanently moored floating units for natural gas liquefaction (FLNG) and new Rules for the classification of units operating in the Caspian Sea and in other similar areas.

The FLNG rules cover floating units for the liquefaction of methane gas, its storage and subsequent offloading onto gas carriers for final transport to the area of destination, generally known as FLNG (Floating LNG) and also FPSO LNG (Floating Production Storage Offshore LNG). This is one of the most interesting technical and commercial sectors in the field of offshore hydrocarbon exploitation. The flexibility which these units offer in terms of positioning makes them particularly attractive for use where it is necessary to eliminate environmental impact. They remove the need for a large gas liquefaction plant ashore, and they can be relocated to different geographical areas, provided the environmental conditions are similar.

In the light of this interest and to be able to offer the industry a valid regulatory tool, RINA has developed ad-hoc rules for FLNG units, which are contained in the new Chapter 5 of Part E of the “Rules for the classification of Mobile Offshore Units and MODU”. The new RINA rules cover aspects linked to hull structure and plant, related to both ship and processes. With reference to the latter aspect, RINA has developed specific criteria, based on risk analysis, to be able to deal adequately with the safety aspects associated with use, in an offshore marine environment, of plant and machinery used in oil refineries on land.

The challenges offered by this new use can be met on the basis of the analysis and verification principles of the RINA Rules. They not only guarantee plant safety but also, at the request of the interested parties, their efficiency through specific certification of the new technology used, using Technology Qualification Certification.

New rules for the Caspian Sea are required because the ever increasing demand for oil has compelled oil companies to look for new fields in areas until now unexplored due to their severe environmental conditions.

One of these is the Caspian Sea characterised by:

-         environmental temperatures varying between -35°C and +45°C,

-         an ice thickness up to 0.6 metres,

-         shallow waters,

-         oil fields containing toxic gases (in particular H2S),

-         “zero discharge” environmental policies.

Bearing in mind the special requirements and uniqueness of the area, RINA has developed rules for the classification of offshore units operating in the Caspian Sea and in similar areas.

Some of these units have special characteristics and non-traditional tasks. For example, IBEEV (Ice Breaking Emergency Evacuation Vessels) are designed to operate throughout the year including in winter ice to safely evacuate personnel operating on offshore platforms in the case of an emergency.

For the latter, RINA has developed the new service notation: IBEEV which takes into account the main characteristics of these vessels:

-         complete isolation from the outside (the air needed for the people on board as well as for the engines is provided by special pressure vessels),

-         ability to sail through fire (pool fire),

-         resistance to over pressure due to an explosion,

-         ability to break ice in shallow waters (traditional ice-breakers cannot operate in shallow waters).

The RINA Technical Committee consists of:


Avv. Umberto Masucci, Chairman of the Ship and Aircraft Brokers and Agents Fund (FAMA) and National Advisor to CONFCOMMERCIO


Prof. Ing. Antonio CAMPANILE, Professor of Offshore Structures at the University of Napoli Federico II

Dr. Aldo COSENTINO, Member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA)

Dr.ssa Annamaria CRUCIANI, Division 4 Internal Maritime Safety, Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport

Ing. Giuseppe DEMOFONTI, Senior Scientist in Mechanical Metallurgy – Materials Development Centre

Ing. Filippo GRASSIA, Senior Scientist of the Research Area of the CNR

Ing. Domenico IMPAGLIAZZO, Division 4 Internal Maritime Safety, Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport

Ing. Giorgio LA VALLE, CEO MES (Marine Engineering Services)

Ing. Roberto MARTINOLI, CEO of Grandi Navi Veloci


CV Bruno SPANGHERO, Captain, Head of the Ship Design Branch, Department of research, design, means, materials, General Staff of Italian Navy