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Sub-Committee on Fire Protection (FP), 55th session: 25 to 29 July 2011

July 29, 2011

FSS Code amendments agreed by Sub-Committee
Draft amendments to seven chapters of the International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code) relating to performance testing and approval standards for fire safety systems were agreed by the Sub-Committee on Fire Protection (FP), when it met for its 55th session, for submission to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 90). The draft amendments to chapters 3, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13 and 14 of the FSS Code include the incorporation of relevant well-proven interpretations.
 
Guidelines on fire safety systems agreed
The Sub-Committee also agreed draft MSC circulars on Revised Guidelines for the design and approval of fixed water-based fire-fighting systems for ro ro spaces and special category spaces, Guidelines for the approval of helicopter facility foam fire fighting appliances and Revised Guidelines for the maintenance and inspection of fire-protection systems and appliances.
 
SOLAS amendments on inert gas systems for low-flash point cargoes agreed in principle
The Sub-Committee agreed in principle to amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 to require inert gas systems on certain ships as part of a programme of work  aimed at preventing explosions on oil and chemical tankers transporting low-flash point cargoes.
 
The draft amendments to SOLAS regulations II-2/1 and 4 will require an inert gas system to be fitted on new oil and chemical tankers of 8,000 dwt and above but below 20,000 dwt, transporting low-flash point cargoes (cargoes having a flashpoint less than 60°C). The draft amendments will be further discussed at the next session, before submission to the MSC.
 
The Sub-Committee also established a correspondence group to further review requirements for inert gas systems in other IMO instruments.
 
The development of the SOLAS amendments follows intensive work in recent years, based on the recommendations of an Inter-Industry Working Group (IIWG), which was established to study incidents of fires and explosions on chemical and product tankers. The IIWG reported to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) at its 81st session, in May 2006, and a number of issues were referred to the Sub-Committee.
 
The IIWG had concluded that a failure to follow procedures was the primary cause of the incidents in question but also recommended that, as an additional safety measure, the MSC give consideration to amending SOLAS to provide for the application of inert gas to new chemical tankers and new product tankers of less than 20,000 dwt.
 
The IIWG included the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), the International Chamber of Shipping Limited (ICS), the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO), the International Parcel Tankers Association (IPTA), the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) and the International Group of P&I Clubs.
 
Draft SOLAS amendments on breathing apparatus and communication agreed
The Sub-Committee also agreed the following draft amendments to SOLAS regulations II-2/10 and 15 for approval at MSC 90 and subsequent adoption:
 
• Regulation 10 Fire fighting to add a new paragraph to 10.4 Fire-fighter's communication to require a minimum of two two-way portable radiotelephone apparatus for fire fighter's communication to be carried.  Portable radios on tankers and those intended to be used in hazardous areas shall be of an explosion-proof type;
 
• Regulation 15 Instructions, on-board training and drills, to add a new paragraph 2.2.6 to require an onboard means of recharging breathing apparatus cylinders used during drills to be provided, or a suitable number of spare cylinders to be carried to replace those used.
 
Recommendations on evacuation analysis for passenger ships further developed
The Sub-Committee continued its work on developing additional scenarios pertaining to recommendation on evacuation analysis for new and existing passenger ships, to update the Guidelines for evacuation analysis for new and existing passenger ships (MSC.1/Circ.1238), with a view to finalising the recommendation at the next session (FP 56).
 
In particular, the Sub-Committee agreed that it was important to await the outcome of the European Union SAFEGUARD project, expected to be completed by March 2012. The main objective of the EU Framework 7 project SAFEGUARD is to acquire a large corpus of sea based data on passenger response times and assembly times of a sufficient size and richness to permit model calibration (in terms of response time distributions) and verification and validation (of the assembly process) to serve as the basis for improved evacuation analysis protocols (http://www.safeguardproject.info/ ). 
 
Means of escape draft amendments further developed
The Sub-Committee continued its work on the development of draft SOLAS amendments on means of escape from machinery spaces, with a view to finalising the work at FP 56. 
 
Requirements for hydrogen and compressed natural gas vehicles progressed
The Sub-Committee continued its work on the development of requirements for ships carrying hydrogen and compressed natural gas vehicles, with a view to finalization, at the next session, of draft amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/20 Protection of vehicle, special category and ro-ro spaces, to give additional requirements for spaces intended for carriage of compressed natural gas vehicles, and additional requirements for spaces intended for carriage of hydrogen vehicles.
 
Fire resistance of ventilation ducts amendment progressed
The Sub-Committee continued its work on the development of requirements for the fire resistance of ventilation ducts and established a correspondence group to further develop the proposed comprehensive set of draft amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/9.7 Ventilation systems, with a view to finalization at FP 56.
 
Fire protection for on-deck cargoes work progressed
The Sub-Committee continued its work on the review of fire protection requirements for on-deck cargo areas and established a correspondence group to further consider the matter, and report to FP 56.
 
The correspondence group is tasked with finalizing the draft amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 and the draft Guidelines for additional fire safety measures for on-deck containerized cargo areas, focusing on containerized cargo on deck in higher stacks in lieu of addressing cargo ships in general; clarifying the application of the draft amendments and the draft guidelines with regard to new and existing ships, as appropriate; reviewing the draft amendments with regard to the footnote references to relevant MSC circulars; and considering whether to specify performance standards for mobile water monitors and advising the Sub-Committee accordingly. 

Unified interpretations agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed on five interpretations of SOLAS chapter II-2 and one of the International Code for the Application of Fire Test Procedures, for approval by MSC 90.
 
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