AN INTRODUCTION TO MARINE FIRE FIGHTING
& PORT STATE CONTROL
Of all the disasters that can happen to a vessel at sea,
fire must be near the top of the list. Marine fire accidents
are extremely dangerous, very destructive and very costly.
They may take the lives of the ship's crew or passengers and
cause untold damage to the environment, not to mention the
enormous financial loss to the operating Company.
Ship fire-fighting requires a highly coordinated response by
the crew to control the immediate danger that a fire
presents and the subsequent containment of that situation.
They must react with the precision of a military operation
to have any chance of success.
A ship at sea must be fully self contained in its
It must be familiar with specific marine fire
fighting procedures; dedicated protocols that differ
vastly from fires on land.
Provides Maximum Protection Using Maximum Preparation
Land based fire fighters know that ship fires are
extremely difficult to handle because of their complexity
and difficulty of access. Fires account for about one
third of all fatalities due to accidents on board
container vessels. Engine room fires are a major
contributor, closely followed by fires in cargo areas.
However, not all incidents of fire are published today and
we are only shown the tip of the iceberg. Many ship owners
have become complacent and believe that a high safety
record will guarantee their insurance cover but this is no
longer the case.
The number of container vessels and the amount of
containers carried are growing constantly. Vessels are
becoming larger and their cargo is quite often worth more
than the vessel itself. Insurers are becoming increasingly
concerned with these risks and it is important that all
personnel are well trained in EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS and
are fully aware of the consequences if they don't.
This presents a major challenge for every Operator and
requires a dedicated marine fire-fighting system - unlike
anything else. Ship fire fighting has become an essential
component of life aboard today's vessels including Cruise
Ships, Ro Ro's, Cargo vessels, Bulk Carriers, Tankers and
Container ships. With stringent legislation, International
Port State safety Inspections have detained an ever
increasing number of vessels due to inadequate Emergency
Preparedness Standards. Marine fire training and safety is
part of the mandatory requirements for all seafarers.
Powers to Detain
In any case where a ship does not comply with the
requirements of the Port State Authority Regulations, the
ship shall be liable to be detained and section 284 of the
Merchant Shipping Act 1995 (which relates to the detention
of a ship) shall have effect in relation to that ship;
"The Merchant Shipping (Fire Protection) (Large Ships)
Regulations 1998". Fire-fighting, lifesaving appliances
and associated drills account for approximately one third
of the overall deficiencies identified on detained
Ship Risk Profile
Regime (NIR) came into force early 2011 having been
developed by PMOU Task Force 31.
Instead of a target factor, every ship has a risk profile
A ship will be either HIGH, STANDARD or LOW RISK and will
receive periodic inspections every 5-6 months (High risk),
every 10-12,months (Standard risk) and every 24-36 months
- RO (Recognised Organisation)
When the "inspection window" opens it is PRIORITY II
and it may
When the "inspection window" is closed it is PRIORITY I and
it must be
Flag: White list and IMO Audit
Age: Less than 12 years
Class: Recognised Organisation (RO) with high performance
and recognised by EU
Company: High performance (new directive)
Deficiencies: Five or less within a 36 month period
Flag: Black list
Age: More than 12 years
Class: Substandard Organisation with low performance
Company: Low performance (new directive)
Detentions: One within the previous 36 months
A vessel inspection will be determined on a points system;
for example a high risk vessel such as an Oil Tanker will
receive 2 points, if it is blacklisted it will receive a
further 2 points, if it is owned by a Company with a poor
performance it will receive a further 2 points, if it has
had a detention within the last 36 months another 2 points
and 1 point if it is over 12 years old.
points or more will class the vessel as HIGH RISK
deficiency will carry 5 points.
Periodic inspections will be expanded for all high
risk vessels (e.g. tankers, bulk carriers) aged 12
years or over. Additional inspections may be expanded
according to the professional judgement of the PSCO.
Expanded checks; overall condition in a list of 14 risk
areas e.g. weather tightness, emergency systems, living
conditions PLUS a list of specified items for each ship
EMSA - Port State
Control Officer Training throughout Europe (Directive 95/21)
International Officers will be trained to coordinate and
regulate the same standards and expectations with regards to
equipment and ISM requirements.
MSC 81 (2006) agrees comprehensive review of STCW Convention
and Code. It will address inconsistencies, outdated
provisions, MSC instructions,clarifications and
interpretations already issued and technological advances.
Adoption from January 1st 2011.
The cost of a detention or a real fire is
catastrophic; failure to prepare is delaying the
inevitable. Secure your future now with BLUEBEAST
MARINE FIRE MANAGEMENT