The shipping industry has witnessed many fire incidents on container ships this year, some of which have resulted to fatalities and others to economic losses; Thus, IUMI, in a recent forum, took the chance to alert on the situation and call the shipping industry to improve its existent onboard firefighting systems and seafarers’ training, as both seem to lack of efficiency in these challenging times.
fire safety measures
The Norwegian Maritime Authority issues an alert concerning a small fire that erupted in the battery room onboard Ytterøyningen passenger ferry and provides recommendations on dealing with unsafe situations onboard vessels.
South Korea excluded cargo containing hazardous substances from being transferred or unloaded from vessels at several terminals of the port of Ulsan, following the fire that erupted at the port on Saturday 29 September.
It is not an easy task to deal with a fire in the cargo hold, or any area of the ship for that matter, and surely any fire situation onboard a ship needs to be taken seriously. Normally all precautions are taken to ensure that inflammable cargoes are kept in isolated conditions.
Cargo ships carrying liquid cargo is a special category type of ships in respect of firefighting because on board such ships there is a dangerous combination between cargo’s specific features and equipment to support all aspects of vessel’s requirements.
Engine room fires are often very challenging to deal with, due to the construction of the room and a plentiful supply of the fire triangle elements: heat, fuel and oxygen. A major engine room fire can have destructive consequences and, in the aftermath, it’s unlikely for a ship to continue under her own power.
The following real-life incident can be used as case study to help crew members understand how to properly handle similar occasions and take the appropriate knowledge from an incident of fire on board cargo vessel.
Although fire fighting training provides basic (basic fire fighting, STCW VI I/1) and advanced (advanced fire fighting STCW VI/3) knowledge to crew members onboard, when such emergency occurs in real life, this knowledge may be proved insufficient. There are many reasons for that; mostly related to the way that the training is being conducted.
One way to address fire emergency is the proper training through efficient and regular drills which ensure that crew members are ready to handle a fire onboard. As such, the industry has incorporated in SOLAS, Chapter 19 which refers to emergency drills, a specific paragraph for fire drills.
As fire on board is one of the most dangerous situations that crewmembers can face, the Standard Club has proposed certain practices, aiming to promote better fire safety, and raise awareness of fire risks in general and fire risks on ferries in particular.
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