In a bid to bolster the safety of maritime transportation of electric vehicles, ClassNK has unveiled a set of new guidelines and measures.
pesifically, ClassNK has developed the Guidelines for the Safe Transportation of Electric Vehicles, which describes the characteristics of EV fires and provides guidance on how to respond, built upon dialogue with experts, operators, manufacturers, and other stakeholders, as well as comprehensive literature review.
Furthermore, ClassNK has also published the List of Fire Safety Measures for the Maritime Transportation of Electric Vehicles which details approximately 40 measures for early detection, suppression, prevention of fire spread, and extinguishing.
Publishing these guidelines is a smart move on ClassNK’s part, as amidst the urgent challenges presented by climate change and global warming, the export of hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) powered by Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries has witnessed a significant surge. Alas, there exists a faction of industry insiders who argue that the transport of these vehicles may not be completely safe.
In the case of a thermal runaway, the risks are considerably amplified. This dangerous occurrence involves an uncontrolled escalation in temperature within the battery, resulting in a swift and forceful discharge of energy. The consequences of such an event can be dire, potentially leading to catastrophic explosions or fires.
Controlling li-ion battery fires are almost impossible, once the fire catches on to nearby vehicles their frames melt and the work to extinguish is extremely challenging.
…Henrik Meyer, senior quality manager, ports, terminals & stevedoring at Wallenius Wilhelmsen, had stated on the subject
For instance, the recent massive fire incident aboard Fremantle Highway, where they were reportedly almost 500 electric cars on the ship, serves as a stark reminder of the critical need for rigorous safety protocols and regulations in the production and utilization of electric vehicles.
The aim of the Guidelines is to assist in the development of fire safety measures for the maritime transportation of EVs and, thus, enhance the overall safety of such transportation for not only ships themselves but also for their respective crews.
According to ClassNK, both the guidelines and the list will be updated swiftly in line with future ClassNK’s research findings and industry trends.