Jebel Ali gets tougher on Inert Gas System rules

Following the recent incident of a vessel striking a crane at Jebel Ali, causing it to collapse onto the quay, tankers of 8,000 dwt and over, carrying low-flashpoint cargoes, and constructed (keel laid) on or after 1 January 2016, must also be provided with a fixed inert gas system complying with Chapter 15 of the amended fire safety system (FSS) Code (or an equivalent system – subject to acceptance by the flag administration), reports Britannia P&I Club.

The club noted that for some time in Dubai oil tankers of 20,000 tons dwt upwards, but less than 40,000 tons dwt, that were carrying petroleum products other than crude oil which had a flash point of 60 degrees Celsius or less, which were not fitted with an Inert Gas System (IGS), were required to have an equivalent fixed installation in accordance with the SOLAS regulations (in force since January 1st 2016). Tankers not in compliance with this requirement would be refused permission to either load or discharge the said cargoes.

The Club noted that, although SOLAS 74/78 had been ratified by the UAE, it had yet to acquire the force of law. Therefore the UAE Maritime Code remained the overriding legislation.

Jebel Ali port has issued a circular to clarify any ambiguity between SOLAS and the UAE Maritime Code, stressing that the inert gas requirements would be enforced stringently. All tankers calling Jebel Ali Port which fall under the January 1st 2016 amendment to SOLAS would, therefore, need to comply with the regulations. The only exception would be if they held an official letter or an exemption certificate issued by their own administration. Previously, the port had overlooked the requirement for such an official letter or exception certificate but this would now not be the case.