WILHELMSEN Ships Service (WSS) has warned shipowners that they need to act promptly to ensure they comply with new firefighting rules brought into force on January 1 this year for all new buildings.
New amendments to the safety of life at sea convention (SOLAS), which are now in force have laid down extensive ground rules for firefighting on ships designed to carry containers on or above the weather deck and built on or after January 1, 2016.
The company's Unitor lance and X-flow water monitor have been specifically designed to meet all the requirements of the new SOLAS rules, according to a WSS statement.
"As container ships have increased in size, so too has the need for effective measures to ensure the safety of the crew and cargo when substantial numbers of containers are carried on deck," said, business manager, safety, WSS, Andrew Sheriff.
"Given the sensitive cargoes carried on many container ships, crew members need to be able to respond quickly and effectively in an emergency situation."
Containership fires have presented many challenges for the industry in recent years, with recent casualties like the MSC Flaminia in 2012 and the 18,000 TEU Barzan in 2015 underlining the importance of a swift response in critical circumstances.
One of the SOLAS regulations requires at least one water mist lance to be carried on the vessel. In addition, ships designed to carry five or more tiers of containers on or above the weather deck must carry mobile water monitors - the number needed depending on the breadth of the vessel. This regulation is for new vessels delivered in 2016.
Under the new rules, monitors have to fulfil a number of requirements, including having a discharge nozzle of the dual-purpose spray or jet type, to be equipped with a coupling for hydrant connection as well as a minimum capacity of 60 m3/h (1000 l/min) and a minimum horizontal throw of 40 metres at 4 bar, when discharging at a horizontal elevation of 30-35 degrees.
They must be able to operate both horizontally and vertically, with a range of up to 90 degrees, and be capable of one man or unattended operation. All systems need to be approved by the relevant administration.
Mr Sherriff explained that the Unitor water mist lance is swift to deploy, thereby reducing fire damage. The lance, which has been tested and type approved by classification society DNV-GL, has a purpose selected hose of small diameter and low weight, ensuring ease of use.
Benefits of WSS's Unitor X-flow water monitor include its low water requirements that can save on extra installation costs linked to higher water supply demand. The monitor can mitigate fire damage with fast connection to a hydrant as the unit requires only one hose.
The system has also been tested and type approved by DNV-GL, the statement added.