Ready to navigate the new IBC Code?

By January 2021, a revised code for chemical cargo at sea will take effect. Are you prepared to meet the new requirements? Read our guide to the IBC Code 2020 edition.


Introduction to the IBC code

Chemical tankers are obliged to comply with the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk. For short: The IBC Code.

The IBC Code provides an international standard for the safe carriage by sea of dangerous and noxious liquid chemicals in bulk. To minimize the risks to ships, their crews and the environment, the IBC Code prescribes the design and construction standards of ships and onboard equipment for handling of given substances.

Ships subjected to the code

The IBC Code covers three types of chemical tankers:

  • Type 1: Chemical tankers intended to transport a range of products with severe environmental and safety hazards which require maximum preventive measures.
  • Type 2: Chemical tankers intended to carry a range of products with severe environmental and safety hazards which require significant preventive measures.
  • Type 3: Chemical tankers intended to transport substances with sufficiently environmental and safety hazards which require a moderate degree of containment to increase survival capability in a damaged condition.

Short summary of the new IBC Code 2020 Edition

Over the years, the IBC Code has been revised several times to take into account technological developments and new environmental and health hazard concerns. The most recent edition, the IBC Code 2020, comes into effect as of January 2021.

The IBC code 2020 edition introduces stricter demands for tank pressure for a range of chemical cargo types. While previously 231 substances were classified as toxic, the new list includes 429 substances. If you are transporting methanol, diethylene glycol, MIBK, nonyl alcohol, n-propyl alcohol, octanol, or other products added to the list, you need to assert yourself that your vessels continue to be up for the task.

Higher pressure valve (P/V) points

Typically, the addition of a substance to the list of toxic chemicals in the IBC Code will imply additional requirements for toxic vapor detection, cargo tank vent position, increased P/V (pressure valve) opening set point, cargo and vent piping systems.

The specifications for some of these requirements are very technical. At Bay Valves we specialize in venting of fluid cargo in marine shipping. We are a group of engineers specializing in fluid dynamics. Over the years, we have collaborated with 72 clients on more than 300 projects. This provides us with a basis for advising ship owners on the IBC Code.

Increasing demands for pressure

First and foremost, a ship owner should be aware that some cargoes previously listed on a vessel’s International Certificate of Fitness for the Carriage of Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk ships (COF) will no longer be allowed to be carried on the same ship unless setting is increased to 20 kPa (from the earlier level of 14 kPa). Accordingly, the specifications for valve performance are raised.

At Bay Valves, we recommend the use of High Velocity valves for all cargo types. Bay Valves’ High Velocity Valves opens instantly at set-point and thus providing for a cargo tank pressure which under no circumstances will be higher than the set-point and at the same time operates with a cycle from completely closed to fully open to closed again of not less than two seconds. Thereby, it becomes possible to safely operate a 20 kPa regime on practically all Oil/Product tankers as well.

We are happy to advice you on the IBC Code

The exact implications of the new IBC code will always depend on the design and installed equipment of the specific vessel. Bay Valves will be happy to provide a free-of-charge assessment of your vessel. The assessment will consider design pressure, loading rates and VECS – Vapor return system with the purpose of offering a hazzle free and Class approved exchange of the P/V valves.

To get your free-of-charge assessment of your vessel, contact us here.



Who is Bay Valves

First of all is Bay Valves an advanced valve solution for a demanding environment. The Bay Valves team of skilled engineers specializing in fluid dynamic are constantly striving for excellence and to improving safety, reducing cargo loss and introducing better functionality. We offer standalone valves, combined solutions based on our selection of advanced valves and we can customize products to suit your company’s specific needs in a demanding environment.

Read more about Bay Valves here.

High Pressure Valve

A leader in safety and loss reductions the Bay Valves High Pressure Valve uses advanced magnetic systems for rapid opening which improves safety and prevents hammering. High pressure reduces VOC development.

Bay Valve SuperSat

The integral part of an advanced solution to reduce evaporation loss beneficial for the environment and for your bottom line. Reduces cargo loss by VOC containment under constant monitored high pressure.

P/V Valve

The latest generation valves are developed in concordance with all relevant safety regulations and can be built and customized to fit the customer’s specific needs for individual tank or part of common solutions.

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