US classification society ABS has claimed an industry first with the publication of ABS Guide for Fire-Fighting Systems for Cargo Areas of Container Carriers.
The guide is said to be the first of its kind to address firefighting and safety systems of cargo holds of container vessels, the location of a series of high-profile fires onboard.
“Container Carriers have grown much larger in recent years and the volume of cargo carried has expanded significantly. In addition, the nature of the cargo has changed. Fires involving containers, especially with the volume and type of cargo now being carried, are becoming more frequent and can present a significant risk to the safety of the crew and the vessel. Aligned with the ABS safety mission, we address this issue and provide guidance for the development of robust designs that are better suited to address this key industry challenge,” said Gareth Burton, ABS Vice President of Technology.
The Guide is for the use of designers, builders, owners and operators in the marine industry and specifies the ABS requirements for addressing fire safety in four key areas: fire-fighting for containers stowed on deck, fire-fighting for containers stowed below, fire safety of the deckhouse and container hold flooding as a measure for fire-fighting.
These notations address early fire detection, more efficient fire suppression, better protection of crew, and the safety considerations associated with cargo hold flooding as a means of fire-fighting. These requirements are above and beyond current SOLAS and related industry regulations.