Leading classification society ClassNK has released new stringent guidelines for liquefied hydrogen (H2) carriers.

H2 must be kept at temperatures below -253°C in order to maintain its liquid state under atmospheric pressure. As a result, gas carrier and ship classification expert ClassNK developed its guidelines to provide safety requirements for the design and construction of liquid H2 carriers.

They are based on safety requirements of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) Interim Recommendations, various international standards and additional requirements that arise from the specific hazards in handling liquid H2.

Hayato Suga, General Manager of ClassNK’s Natural Resources and Energy Department, indicated, “The advent of liquefied H2 carrier technology opens the door to new and exciting possibilities, but as with all new technologies, proper guidance must be in place to ensure its safe application.”

“ClassNK developed these guidelines to help ensure the safe design and construction of liquid H2 carriers and support this sector of the industry.”


A landmark deal was inked in January this year between Australia and Japan to ship liquid H2 in bulk for the first time. The pilot project is due to commence in 2020. In laying the groundwork for the agreement, both countries worked together to develop an interim set of shipping safety standards.

A secure supply chain to transport H2 is essential due to its volatile nature if not handled correctly. The shipping of liquid H2 is anticipated to expand in correlation with relative technologies, as it’s viewed as the most efficient form of long distance and large volume transportation.