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Lloyd’s Register (LR) has launched a five-level framework to rank vessels for how prepared they are to make the transition to zero carbon fuels.

The new framework would provide increased clarity to shipping’s stakeholders in assessing the readiness of existing fleets and newly built vessels for zero carbon fuels, LR said on 10 November.

Published by LR’s Maritime Decarbonisation Hub, ‘Zero Ready Framework – helping to ensure shipping can deliver our zero-emissions future’, the policy ranks vessel readiness for zero carbon fuel operations from 1 (highest level of readiness) to 5 (lowest level).

The aim of the framework was to clarify the term ‘readiness’ which was used in multiple ways across the shipping industry, LR said, with rankings based on observations that some shipowners had a design for conversion to zero carbon fuel on paper, without a plan to carry it out.

Other shipowners had some or all the required equipment, such as engine, tank, pipework, fuel management system installed, while another group of vessels had a dual fuel engine that could run on a zero-carbon fuel, which could require an engine retrofit.

Despite a range of new initiatives to achieve zero emissions, LR Maritime Decarbonisation Hub’s assessment of a container ship route in Southeast Asia found that to meet zero targets, 27%-30% of vessels built between 2022/2050 would require conversion to a different fuel.

“As ships built today will still be in service in the 2040s, it’s essential for shipowners to understand the full implications of actual vessel ‘readiness’ for zero carbon fuels to meet the industry’s 2050 decarbonisation targets,” LR maritime decarbonisation hub director Charles Haskell said.

“These differing standards and classifications of ‘readiness’ across the industry have made it difficult for owners to conduct a transparent assessment of their vessels’ commercial prospects in a zero-emissions future.”

The framework was developed through cross-industry consultation involving a series of workshops with industry stakeholders.