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Methanol-propelled Vessels Anticipated

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries approved the revised low-flashpoint fuel rules of the Korean Register of Shipping on June 18. The new rules are to inspect methanol fuel-propelled vessels and such vessels of South Korea are expected to be put into operation in the near future.

The revised rules are to check whether a ship is safe in terms of explosion and fire attributable to methanol and ethanol. The rules also cover safety in terms of structural strength and harm to the human body.

Ethanol and methanol, which are harmful toxic gases, require spatial sealing and gas leak prevention equipment to be used as fuels. In addition, a corrosion-resistant material such as stainless steel needs to be used for storage and transport.

The revised rules are to better reflect the global trend regarding the use of methanol and ethanol fuels and make more preparations regarding methanol fuel-propelled vessels to be built in South Korea. The International Maritime Organization prepared similar safety guidelines in December last year.

At present, more than 20 methanol fuel-propelled vessels are in operation worldwide. Hyundai Mipo Dockyard built and exported two ships of that type in 2016 and is currently building eight, one of which will be used by South Korea. The shipbuilder has exported such vessels to Japan, Sweden and Norway.

Ethanol as well as methanol is in the spotlight as an eco-friendly ship fuel. However, the related shipbuilding demand is currently zero due to relatively higher costs and instability in terms of raw material supply. The ministry is also planning to come up with inspection standards for ships using hydrogen fuel cells and ammonia as a fuel.
Source: Business Korea

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