One of the areas for Support in the latest IUMI Political Forum list of Support issues was the safety of RoRo vessels.
IUMI said that, after the fire on Norman Atlantic just before New Year 2014, and the fire on Sorrento in April 2015, IMO increased its focus on evacuation and the safety of RoRo vessels. MSC 95 had highlighted the need for an international response, through the IMO, to evaluate the casualty reports from the marine accident investigations and act to enhance the current safety regime.
The association said that marine underwriters had witnessed an increase in the frequency of fires in the Car/RoRo segment, currently at a level twice the frequency of fires on most other vessel types. Cargo fires were the most frequent type of fires, which IUMI said could be related to the fire risk of cars in general, as well as challenges with detecting, locating and extinguishing fires on such vessels. Refrigeration units, charging of electric vehicles, stowaways and passengers on ro-ro decks were other factors that potentially increased the fire hazard on RoRos. Interferry released in March 2016 Operational Best Practice Guidance on ferry safety for ro-ro passenger ships. The key finding of their review was that more attention should be given on response time in case of an incident. MSC 97 agreed in November 2016 to include in the 2016-2017 biennial agenda of the SubCommittee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE), with the support of the Sub-Committees on Ship Design and Construction (SDC) and Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW), an output on “Review SOLAS chapter II-2 and associated codes to minimize the incidence and consequences of fires on ro-ro spaces and special category spaces of new and existing ro-ro passengers ships”, with a target completion year of 2019. SSE agreed in March 2017 on a two- step approach:
1. the development of Interim Guidelines, and
2. the development of amendments to SOLAS and associated codes. The scope of work was approved by MSC 98 in June 2017.
IUMI said that it would:
· Support Interferry RoRo Deck Fire Safety Operational Best Practice Guidance.
· Support ongoing work at the IMO to improve safety of RoRo vessels and Car Carriers.
· Support the UK MAIB safety flyer recommendations.