EN 12079 Offshore Reefer Container

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EN 12079

In 1991, the European Committee for standardisation, CEN, started developing a European Standard (EN) on offshore containers.

The committee prepared EN 12079 which was originally issued in 1999 and revised and replaced with the 2006 edition.

The requirements for design, testing, and production of offshore reefer containers in EN 12079 are directly based on DNV Standard for Certification 2.7-1.

EN 12079 consists of three parts. Offshore containers and lifting sets certified to comply with DNV 2.7-1 also comply fully with EN 12079 parts 1 and 2. This is reflected on our container offshore certificates

How are offshore reefer containers tested?


Type approval of a container involves the construction and testing of a prototype built according to the approved drawings. It must also use the same materials as proposed for normal production.
Tests include:
  • Four-point lift using all padeyes
  • Two-point lift test using opposed padeyes
  • A vertical impact test
  • A tilt test
  • Tanks for dangerous cargoes shall in addition be tested with all the requirements of the IMDG code.

What is a DNV 2.7-1 Offshore Reefer Container?

An offshore container is a mobile unit having a maximum gross mass of not more than 25000 kg that is used repeatedly in the transportation of goods or equipment across open seas, too, from, or between fixed and/or floating facilities and ships.

It continues, “Units for offshore lifting that are designed for installation rather than repetitive transportation are not considered containers.

ISO 10855

The EN ISO 10855 ‘Offshore containers and associated lifting sets’ series, adopted by CEN in 2018, consists of three parts: part 1, on the design, manufacture and marking of offshore containerspart 2 on the design, manufacture and marking of lifting sets; and part 3 on periodic inspection, examination and testing.

As a whole, this series of standards describes the requirements for the design, construction, inspection, testing and in-service examinations of offshore containers and associated lifting sets for the petroleum, petrochemical and natural gas industry.

EN-ISO 10855 adopts the international ISO 10855 series at the European levels.

The ISO standard was developed by combining existing European, American and classification bodies standards into a single harmonised agreement.

Its adoption in Europe ensures that the European oil and gas sector has access to a global harmonised and accepted set of requirements for offshore containers.

With clear benefits in terms of interoperability, safety and cost efficiency in a sector that is by definition global.

Ron Winands

Ron Winands, Board Director at Control Union Testing & Inspection, who was involved  in the process of developing the standards series as an expert, explains its added value: “under conditions in which offshore containers are often transported and handled, the ‘normal’ rate of wear and tear is high resulting in damage for which repair will be needed.

However, offshore containers that are designed, manufactured and periodically inspected according to the EN ISO 10855 series should have sufficient strength to withstand the normal forces encountered in offshore operations.”

The standard series also ensures that offshore containers comply with the requirements of IMO, the International Maritime Organization, on the design, construction, inspection, testing and in-service examination.

In doing this, the EN ISO 10855 series does not duplicate efforts: it does not specify certification requirements for offshore containers that are already covered by IMO MSC / Circular 860 and SOLAS, the international convention for the safety of life at sea.

For instance, IMO MSC / Circular 860 already requires certification of offshore containers by national administrations or organizations duly authorized by the administration. Indeed, the certificate of conformity as described in EN ISO 10855 complies with IMO MSC / Circular 860: a good example of how standardization contributes to compliance to regulation.

The EN ISO 10855, developed in the framework of ISO, was published by CEN/TC 12 ‘Materials, equipment and offshore structures for petroleum, petrochemical and natural gas industries’, whose Secretariat is held by NEN, the Netherlands’ National Standardization Body, with CYS, Cyprus’ National Standardization Body, as twinning Secretariat.

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