Hendrike Kuhle, policy director at IUMI, has reported on the 7th session of the Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE 7), which met from March 2nd to 6th at the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) headquarters, chaired by Umut Şentürk from Turkey.
IUMI used the SSE meeting to continue momentum on the issue of containership fires and held a lunch time presentation on this topic.
Under the theme “Containership fires from the insurers’ perspective” Are Solum from Gard discussed why containership fires had long been a concern for marine insurers, noting that current International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations have not kept pace with the growth in size of the vessels or the complexities of fighting larger and more dangerous fires.
IUMI believes that, unless this is addressed at the IMO, with support and input from all relevant stakeholders, the number and severity of containership fires was likely to grow – and with it the number of seafarers’ deaths and injuries.
Also raised at the meeting was the matter of minimizing the number of fires on roll-on-roll-off (ro-ro) vessels.
The Sub-Committee continued its work to minimize the incidence and consequences of fires on ro-ro passenger ships, following a number of recent serious accidents. The session focused on potential draft amendments to the SOLAS Convention and associated codes, to enhance fire prevention, detection and extinction on these ship types. A correspondence group was established to continue the work intersessionally.
The Sub-Committee finalized draft amendments to chapter 9 of the International Fire Safety Systems Code (FSS Code), as well as to the revised guidelines for the design and approval of fixed water-based fire-fighting systems for ro-ro spaces and special category spaces (MSC.1/Circ.1430/Rev.1) and the guidelines for the maintenance and inspections of fixed carbon dioxide fire-extinguishing systems (MSC.1/ Circ.1318).
One point of particular interest to IUMI was a proposal submitted by China to give special consideration to lithium-ion battery powered vehicles. Due to the increasing number of such cars, the fire risk associated with their transport was a growing concern.
IUMI supported this issue to be reviewed in more detail in the SSE sub-committee. China along with interested Member States and international organisations were invited to submit proposals for a relevant new output to SSE 8.