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BV introduces notation to help prevent containership fires

Bureau Veritas (BV) is this month introducing a new Enhanced Cargo Fire Protection (ECFP) notation for containerships.

The new notation seeks to address the worrying incidence and effects of conflagrations aboard large vessels, officials of the class society told a media briefing in London on Tuesday.

The new guidance incorporates feedback from an international cross-industry working group on the issue that BV initiated last year where expert participants included French and Chinese shipowners CMA CGM and Cosco Shipping; shipyards/designers CSSC and MARIC of China; French maritime firefighters Marins-Pompiers de Marseille; salvage experts Smit of the Netherlands and TMC Marine of the UK; and maritime investigation authorities BEAmer of France and MIT of Italy.

The working group carried out extensive analysis of cargo fires on container ships to identify critical issues (HAZID), including prevention/ignition, detection, manual fire-fighting, fixed fire-fighting, fire containment/protection of critical areas on the ship, and evacuation. This led on to the drawing up of relevant safety measures and risk control measures (RCM), followed by evaluation of the RCMs in terms of effectiveness and ease of implementation.

The new ECFP notation applies to both existing ships and newbuilds and has three applicable levels:

  • ECFP1: indicating portable equipment and arrangements; suitable for retrofits and multi-purpose ships;
  • ECFP2: indicating ECFP-1 + additional equipment, systems and arrangements based on standard technologies (deemed effective and available);
  • ECFP3: indicating ECFP-2 + additional equipment. Systems and arrangements based on innovative technologies (such as next-generation fire-fighting equipment and outfits, and improved fire detection technology).

BV says it will continue cross-industry projects and assessment of new technologies relating to issue, in conjunction with the likes of IMO, IACS, IUMI and flags, with collaboration on international regulations to be regularly reviewed/updated.


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