U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Feb 24, 2020
(a) A vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine, a fuel cell, batteries or a combination thereof is subject to the following requirements when carried as cargo on a vessel:
(1) Before being loaded on a vessel, each vehicle must be inspected for signs of leakage from batteries, engines, fuel cells, compressed gas cylinders or accumulators, or fuel tank(s) when applicable, and any identifiable faults in the electrical system that could result in short circuit or other unintended electrical source of ignition. A vehicle showing any signs of leakage or electrical fault may not be transported.
(2) For flammable liquid powered vehicles, the fuel tank(s) containing the flammable liquid, may not be more than one fourth full and the flammable liquid must not exceed 250 L (66 gal) unless otherwise approved by the Associate Administrator.
(3) For flammable gas powered vehicles, the fuel shut-off valve of the fuel tank(s) must be securely closed.
(4) For vehicles with batteries installed, the batteries shall be protected from damage, short circuit, and accidental activation during transport. Except for vehicles with prototype or low production lithium batteries (see § 173.185(d) of this subchapter) securely installed, each lithium battery must be of a type that has successfully passed each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria (IBR, see § 171.7 of this subchapter), as specified in § 173.185(a) of this subchapter, unless approved by the Associate Administrator. Where a lithium battery installed in a vehicle is damaged or defective, the battery must be removed and transported according to § 173.185(f) of this subchapter, unless otherwise approved by the Associate Administrator.
(5) Whenever possible, each vehicle must be stowed to allow for its inspection during transportation.
(6) Vehicles may be refueled when necessary in the hold of a vessel in accordance with § 176.78.
(b) All equipment used for handling vehicles must be designed so that the fuel tank and the fuel system of the vehicle are protected from stress that might cause rupture or other damage incident to handling.
(c) Two hand-held, portable, dry chemical fire extinguishers of at least 4.5 kg (10 pounds) capacity each must be separately located in an accessible location in each hold or compartment in which any vehicle is stowed.
(d) “NO SMOKING” signs must be conspicuously posted at each access opening to the hold or compartment.
(e) Each portable electrical light, including a flashlight, used in the stowage area must be an approved, explosion-proof type. All electrical connections for any light must be made to outlets outside the space in which any vehicle is stowed.
(f) Each hold or compartment must be ventilated and fitted with an overhead water sprinkler system or fixed fire extinguisher system.
(g) Each hold or compartment must be equipped with a smoke or fire detection system capable of alerting personnel on the bridge.
(h) All electrical equipment in the hold or compartment other than fixed explosion-proof lighting must be disconnected from its power source at a location outside the hold or compartment during the handling and transportation of any vehicle. Where the disconnecting means is a switch or circuit breaker, it must be locked in the open position until all vehicles have been removed.
(i) Exceptions. A vehicle is not subject to the requirements of this subchapter if any of the following are met:
(1) The vehicle is stowed in a hold or compartment designated by the administration of the country in which the vessel is registered as specially designed and approved for vehicles and there are no signs of leakage from the battery, engine, fuel cell, compressed gas cylinder or accumulator, or fuel tank, as appropriate. For vehicles with batteries connected and fuel tanks containing gasoline transported by U.S. vessels, see 46 CFR 70.10-1 and 90.10-38;
(i) For vehicles powered solely by lithium batteries and hybrid electric vehicles powered by both an internal combustion engine and lithium metal or ion batteries offered in accordance with this paragraph, the lithium batteries, except for prototype or those produced in low production, must be of a type that has successfully passed each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria (IBR, see § 171.7 of this subchapter), as specified in § 173.185(a) of this subchapter. Where a lithium battery installed in a vehicle is damaged or defective, the battery must be removed.
(2) The vehicle is powered by a flammable liquid that has a flashpoint of 38 °C (100 °F) or above, the fuel tank contains 450 L (119 gallons) of fuel or less, there are no leaks in any portion of the fuel system, and installed batteries are protected from short circuit;
(3) The vehicle is powered by a flammable liquid fuel that has a flashpoint less than 38 °C (100 °F), the fuel tank is empty, and installed batteries are protected from short circuit. Vehicles are considered to be empty of flammable liquid fuel when the fuel tank has been drained and the vehicles cannot be operated due to a lack of fuel. Engine components such as fuel lines, fuel filters and injectors do not need to be cleaned, drained or purged to be considered empty. The fuel tank does not need to be cleaned or purged;
(4) The vehicle is powered by a flammable gas (liquefied or compressed), the fuel tanks are empty and the positive pressure in the tank does not exceed 2 bar (29 psig), the fuel shut-off or isolation valve is closed and secured, and installed batteries are protected from short circuit;
(5) The vehicle is solely powered by a wet or dry electric storage battery or a sodium battery, and the battery is protected from short circuit; or
(6) The vehicle is powered by a fuel cell engine, the engine is protected from inadvertent operation by closing fuel supply lines or by other means, and the fuel supply reservoir has been drained and sealed.
(j) Except as provided in § 173.220(f) of this subchapter, the provisions of this subchapter do not apply to items of equipment such as fire extinguishers, compressed gas accumulators, airbag inflators and the like which are installed in the vehicle if they are necessary for the operation of the vehicle, or for the safety of its operator or passengers.