Ro-ro ships are an important component of the global transportation system and one of the most successful types of vessels today. However, a significant number of fire incidents on ro-ro ships in recent years and lacking signs of such diminishing call for improved fire protection. Based on a proposal from the European Commission, the International Maritime Organization therefore adopted a new agenda item to the Maritime Safety Committee in November 2016, called "Fire Safety of Ro-ro Passenger Ships" (MSC 97/19/3), and studies are and have since then been carried out to analyse critical aspects in previous ro-ro passenger ship fires.
There is also a need to address the challenges ahead, including the ongoing cargo transformation involving alternative fuel vehicles. Moreover, similar fire safety challenges apply to all types of ro-ro ships (not only passenger ships), including vehicle carriers and general ro-ro cargo ships. Hence, there is a need to update the fire protection of ro-ro ships from a wide and long-term perspective. There are significant challenges to address but there is also great potential in using new and advancing technologies and procedures. The innovative solutions need to be in balance with effects on the environment, cost and crew operations, in order to be considered for regulatory amendments. Then the fire safety of ro-ro ships can be robustly enhanced, without support from external intervention.
LASH FIRE brings together the relevant expertise to cover the challenge of developing and demonstrating new procedures and technical innovations for maritime application. The ambition of the project flows is in line with that of the IMO and other regulatory bodies to greatly enhance the safety of ro-ro ships. Besides, LASH FIRE gives European industry knowledge to address the technical challenges of these updated rules, enhancing shipyards, system suppliers and further industries to develop and build safer and more competitive ships for sustainable transport.
The project has a holistic approach to the problem and will investigate the following:
- Effective Manual Operations: More effective fire managing operations in all stages of a fire, including risk-based screening and management of cargo, more efficient fire patrols and first response as well as effective firefighting.
- Inherently Safe Design: Improved design for critical operations in case of fire, reducing the potential for human error, accelerating time sensitive tasks and providing more comprehensive and effective decision support.
- Ignition Prevention: Significant reduction of the most probable ignition sources and of ignitable deck materials on ro-ro deck, as well as provision for automatic screening and support for risk-based loading.
- Detection: Quicker, more reliable and more robust technical means for fire detection, confirmation, localization and assessment on all types of ro-ro decks.
- Extinguishment: Quick extinguishment regardless of deck, system type or size/existence of crew.
- Containment: Elimination of significant containment weaknesses, considering smoke, fire & heat integrity.
LASH Fire has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 814975. The project is coordinated by RISE, and the consortium consists of 27 research and industry partners.
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