Major UK maritime insurers TT Club and UK P&I Club have joined Safetytech Accelerator’s Cargo Fire & Loss Innovation Initiative (CFLII) to improve cargo safety.

This Initiative, launched in February 2023, is a multi-year collaborative technology acceleration programme focused on reducing cargo fires and loss in maritime and its impact. It has already started working on solution for early fire detection in cargo hold.

The Initiative is supported by Anchor Partners COSCO Shipping Lines, Evergreen Line, HMM, Lloyd’s Register, Maersk, the Offen Group, ONE and Seaspan, which represent around 50% of the total liner shipping market.

The UK P&I Club, one of the world’s leading mutual insurers of third-party liabilities for ocean-going merchant ships, and TT Club, the market-leading independent provider of mutual insurance and related risk management services to the international transport and logistics industry, are the first insurers to join the Initiative, joining the significant proportion of the world’s container carriers already involved in the open-innovation programme.

The Initiative has a broad technology scope, encompassing three significant topics of concern.

The first relates to onboard cargo control, including whether cargo has been properly loaded, secured and monitored during transit.

The second area covers onboard fire, the ability to rapidly detect fires and prevent propagation through effective onboard response, particularly on cargo vessels such as container ships and car-carriers.

The third topic of concern relates to the challenges created by the increasing scale of vessels.

Mike Yarwood, managing director of Loss Prevention at TT Club commented on his organisation’s commitment to safety, and prevention of cargo-initiated fires in particular: “As an insurer of many elements of the container supply chain, we have long campaigned for improved certainty for classification, declaration and packing of cargo in containers. We look forward to engaging with fellow partners to improve safety and certainty of outcome in the supply chain.”

Stuart Edmonston, loss prevention director at UK P&I Club, said, “Fires on board container ships keep happening, with depressing regularity, often resulting in tragic loss of life and catastrophic damage to ship and cargo. A large proportion of these fires are completely preventable, and we find that losses could have been mitigated by better practices. This is an industry-wide problem that requires collaboration. The only way to improve safety is to work together, share ideas, and identify and utilise modern technological solutions.”

Rich McLoughlin, CFLII programme director at Safetytech Accelerator, noted that “We believe cross-industry collaboration around innovation is an essential component to reduce the incidence of large cargo fires and enhance the safety of seafarers and vessels. Together with the Anchor Partners we are already uncovering technologies and applications that have the potential to make significant progress to that goal.”