Training cost-effective for Ro-Ro safety

MS Norman Atlantic MS Norman Atlantic following a fire onboard in December 2014, while she was in the Strait of Otranto. Image courtesy of Renano/Wikimedia

Training provides the most cost-effective improvements in safety on decks of Ro-Ro ships, a study has found.

Evaluating 12 safety-improving measures using a cost benefit analysis, the study discovered that an organisational structure for quick response to fire is the most important preventative measure.

The study aimed to provide cost-effective recommendations for measures to decrease the probability of malfunctions occurring in fixed firefighting systems (with a focus on drencher systems) and find ways operators of Ro-Ro ships could decrease the probability of fires caused by electrical problems.

Risk assessment

In the study, commissioned by the European Maritime Safety Agency, models that determine the risk of an electrical fire occurring on the deck of a Ro-Ro ship and a drencher system not being effective during fire-suppression were developed. These models were brought together in an overarching framework that describes the overall risk of a fire on the deck of a Ro-Ro ship.

RISE Fire Research conducted the study in collaboration with Bureau Veritas and Stena Rederi AB and found that electrical errors could be reduced using more robust electrical connection boxes; only allowing the ship’s own cables to be used; using a thermal imaging camera when making the rounds of the deck; training to raise risk-awareness; prohibiting non-crew members from connecting electrical loading units; and using self-winding cable reeling drums.

Remote activation

It was concluded that drencher errors could be reduced by using remote activation; fast-closing shutters for ventilation openings; more efficient activation routines; freshwater connection for system testing and flushing; CCTV; and CCTV plus remote activation.

RISE also concluded that Class A-0 shutters were not cost-effective and that simpler, less expensive options will likely be available in the foreseeable future.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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