Setting a course for a new generation of inland vessels

Setting a course for a new generation of inland vessels

Oct. 11 2022 - 4 min

Automated navigation remains in its infancy but regulators are working to incorporate the systems into regulations.

The CESNI Commission will carry out a gap analysis on ES-TRIN (the European Standard of Technical Requirements for Inland Navigation) as part of efforts to make adoption of the vessels easier.

A key question for the working group will be whether the remote control centre must be considered as part of the vessel or not.

A new chapter for electronics

A new chapter 12 in ES-TRIN covering “electronic equipment and systems” has also been completed.

After national consultations and final discussions, this chapter will be adopted for introduction in ES-TRIN 2025, which will enter into force in January 2026.

Incorporating compressed natural gas

The CESNI will also discuss derogation rights for the increasing number of vessels which will use alternative fuels.

The CCNR has already received an application for derogation (exemption from the requirement) regarding the retrofit of a vessel using compressed natural gas (CNG).

We note that while Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is already authorized in internal combustion engines, it is not currently the case for CNG.

This alternative fuel solution is on the agenda of the CESNI Commission (which updates ES-TRIN) for the future stages.

New guidelines for methanol storage

"Provisional guidelines" have now been approved for the onboard storage of methanol.

Experience gained in the implementation of these draft rules should allow a review of the exemptions applying to pilot projects before the end of 2023.

This would enable relevant text to be included in the draft of ES-TRIN 2025.

Recognized associations, in particular those representing shipowners, shipyards, and classification societies, are invited to comment on the draft rules.

Adding internal combustion engines

While the requirements for fuel cells are already included in ES-TRIN 2023 (set to enter into force in January 2024), some related elements remain under discussion.

These include the requirements for the fuel used in cells (e.g. hydrogen, methanol), where deliberations continue over the final text. 

The use of methanol and hydrogen in internal combustion engines is also still under discussion for likely inclusion in ES-TRIN 2025.

Danube to implement ES-TRIN

Mutual recognition of vessel certificates in the Danube region remains an issue.  

The Danube Commission has now stated that all Member States must implement the ES-TRIN standard in their national law by the beginning of 2023. 

Construction requirements

Finally, CESNI has clarified several outstanding issues relating to construction provisions.

Following an appeal from the recognised classification societies, the CESNI/PT working group examined the elements of ES-TRIN with direct or indirect reference to classification rules, or generating a need for technical requirements or standards.

For instance, ES-TRIN requires that ‘cranes shall be built in accordance with best practice’, and ‘engines and their ancillaries shall be designed, built and installed in accordance with best practice’.

The interpretation confirms that this refers to type approval from a recognised classification society.

ES-TRIN also stipulates that the ‘hull shall be sufficiently strong to withstand all of the stresses to which it is normally subjected’. CESNI confirms that this refers to recognised classification Rules.

CESNI has published an official interpretation of the provisions at this link