IMO to discuss Danish fire safety containership report in March

Cases of fires on container ships have increased in the past five years, and in response, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) employed the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology (DBI) to explore how the container shipping sector can improve its fire safety at sea.

Bureau Veritas BV, RISE, the University of Southern Denmark, and Odense Maritime Technology also contributed to the project.

DBI reports that while container ship fires have doubled over the past 20 years, IMO rules and existing minimum guidelines “do not seem to match today’s risk picture.”

It was against this backdrop that the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) asked DBI in 2021 to lead the CARGOSAFE project, which in 2023 published a report with 17 possible measures on how to improve fire safety on container ships.

The recommendations in DBI’s report CARGOSAFE will form now the basis for discussions at the IMO and its a significant step closer to becoming international regulations.

An expert group in the IMO has scrutinized the CARGOSAFE report and concluded that it meets the requirements of a Formal Safety Assessment, also known as FSA.

With this approval the report’s conclusions and recommendations will be used as the basis for a discussion at the IMO’s Subcommittee on Ship Systems and Equipment on 4-8 March.

Anders V. Kristensen, DBI’s project manager for CARGOSAFE, said: “Changing the regulation for safety at sea is a process that takes many years. Therefore, it is especially gratifying to see that recommendations from the FSA-based approach have now reached the IMO SSE Subcommittee, which will make changes to SOLAS (the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea).”