Expanded Focus for IRI’s Gas Team

6 September 2022

When International Registries, Inc. and its affiliates (IRI) formalized its Gas Team five years ago, the focus was on safety and support for gas carriers. Today, the team’s focus has expanded to meet the changes of the market. IRI’s Jason Clifton-Samuel, Safety and Technical Manager and lead of the Gas Team explains:

“We see a noticeable shift in focus for fueling thanks to the industry’s attention on decarbonization. Increasing numbers of vessels, including liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers, are using alternative fuels to power themselves, and more and more bulk carriers, tankers, and container ships are also shifting to gaseous based fuels and powering arrangements.”

Because gaseous based fuels often cross vessel types, and the regulatory requirements are still being developed, the Gas Team collaborates with many departments within IRI along with other industry stakeholders, to ensure safe vessel operations and quality technical support.

Jason, based in London, recently took over as head of the Gas Team from Eric Linsner, IRI’s LNG/LPG Specialist. He joined IRI in 2018, after decades of experience in many facets of the gas industry. He has an extensive background in the shipping industry with a specialization in gas shipping ranging from developing liquefied natural gas (LNG) specifications, ship plan and containment system approval, shipyard newbuild construction, through to drydock surveys of LNG ships in service, developing floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) projects, and consultancy across a broad range of aspects related to the gas industry.

A naval architect who’s worked on LNG projects all over the world, Jason’s depth of experience in the industry supports the broader focus of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Registry’s Gas Team.

The Gas Team has evolved to meet the needs of the industry and collaborates with Recognized Organizations (ROs) on development, research, analysis, and review to help vessels find equivalent arrangements that maintain vessel safety.

“Alternative gaseous based fuels are new to the ROs as well as the rest of the industry and we’re collaborating with them on how to apply regulations or how to adapt to have alternative compliance with existing regulations,” said Jason.

“The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and other regulatory bodies are working on guidelines and regulations, but the swift pace of innovation is leaping ahead of what is possible in just a few legislative sessions. We are in a rapid learning stage working alongside ROs to determine safe guidelines, arrangements, and solutions that will stand the test of time moving forward,” he continued.

Early adopters to new technology are pushing the industry to advance, but Jason observes that gaseous fuels have moved beyond cutting-edge innovators. He notes that open minded investors are looking at new energy technologies as a commercial strategy, driving some large players in the industry to make significant investments and steps.

“The transition is truly industry driven. Some larger companies are investing in alternative fuels throughout their supply chain. They’ve made the investment to put in place bunkering facilities, retrofit or renovate vessels, etc. to address forthcoming Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) compliance requirements,” Jason observed.

The IMO, as the international regulatory body, adopted its Initial Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy in 2018. One of the Levels of Ambition of the Initial IMO Strategy is to drive a reduction in the carbon intensity of international shipping. Current targets are set to reduce CO2 emissions per transport work by at least 40% by 2030, pursuing efforts toward 70% by 2050, compared to 2008. Developed within the context of the Initial IMO Strategy, new regulations on CII ratings will measure how efficiently a ship transports goods or passengers beginning in 2023. CII rating requirements will become increasingly stringent until 2030, requiring vessels to plan for long-term decarbonization measures now.

“Some of these decarbonization measures and approved mitigation methods may become de facto requirements given that some influential owners and charterers are investing in them together,” noted Jason.

Technical support of renewable gaseous fuels often benefits from collaboration between the Gas Team and IRI’s Renewables Team. These highly experienced teams work hand-in-hand on research, development, and review projects.

“The Renewables Team has incredible knowledge and expertise in alternative energies, and the Gas Team brings technical expertise in gas fuels. For our clients, it is truly a winning combination,” said Cosmin Bozenovici, Vice President, Technical-Offshore, who heads the Renewables Team from IRI’s Houston office.

“We’ve evolved with the industry to meet its needs,” said Jason. “The future really lies in our ability to collaborate and work together supporting owners, operators, and other industry partners through this period of rapid innovation,” he concluded.