The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has introduced new requirements for the fire protection of on-deck cargo areas. The new requirements, which will be added to SOLAS regulation II-2/10, apply to all ships designed to carry containers that are constructed on or after January 1, 2016.
The new regulations stipulate that new ships designed to carry containers on or above the weather deck shall be fitted with at least one water mist lance, and that ships designed to carry five or more tiers of containers on or above the weather deck must be fitted with mobile water monitors. Ships with a breadth up to 30 m should be provided with at least two mobile water monitors, and ships with a breadth exceeding 30 m should be provided with at least four mobile water monitors. Existing protection arrangement regulations will remain in place.
The new requirements come in response to industry concerns regarding fire protection for cargo being carried on deck inside containers. Equipment available to crews for tackling fires currently includes just manual intervention using fire extinguishers and fire hoses, as weather decks are unlikely to provide any fixed fire suppression systems.
The IMO has also released Circular MSC.1/Circ.1472 to provide guidance on design performance, testing and approval of mobile water monitors. Mobile water monitors will also be included in future revisions of Circular MSC.1/Circ.1432 (Revised Guidelines for the Maintenance and Inspection of Fire Protection Systems and Appliances). (Ast)