Adriatic Sea, December 28, 2014. Fire breaks out on car deck on five-year-old ropax ferry Norman Atlantic. Of the more than 500 people on board, 31 dies. The ferry is completely destroyed. Pacific ocean, New Year's Eve 2018. Fire breaks out on car carrier Sincerity Ace. Five out of 21 crew members die and 3,500 Nissan cars are lost.
The list of fires on roro vessels in recent years is getting longer and longer and there are no signs that it will not continue to grow. Something must be done, and this why
the EU is investing EUR 12 million on the project LASH FIRE, where 26 partners from 13 EU countries will develop cost-effective solutions that mitigate the risk of fires initiated in ro-ro spaces of all types of ro-ro ships.
”In the decade between 2006 and 2015, we for example, saw 32 serious ro-ro space fires on ro-pax ships. LASH FIRE will significantly reduce the occurrence of fires on ro-pax ships, general ro-ro cargo ships and PCTCs; we will increase the proportion of fires detected and controlled at an early stage, and we will improve the independent fire management capabilities on board. This will reduce the significant cost of these fires to society, not least the number of fatalities, which is expected to be reduced to about half”, Franz Evegren from RISE, project coordinator of LASH FIRE, states.
The consortium includes industry, research institutes, universities, regulatory authorities and industry organizations - from southern Spain to Sweden, Norway and Finland.
”I would like to say that we at RISE are world leaders in fire on roro vessels, at least no one has done more than us in this area. For this project we have handpicked the best experts at European level.”
LASH FIRE will also continue to explore the possibilities of identifying and visualizing different types of vehicles and fire hazards onboard with the help of drones, which is a continuation of the Lighthouse-funded pre-study “Indoor positioning on ro-ro vessels".
Solutions developed in the project will lead to regulatory proposals, assessed and validated according to the IMO Formal Safety Assessment methodology. If adopted, the time-to-market will be short, given that the whole value-chain is involved in the project.”
”The process takes into account both cost efficiency and risk reduction potential and ensures that solutions that are far too costly for shipowners will not be required.#
No shipowner wants to own the next ship that burns, no cargo owner wants to be the one who loses the next cargo and no sailor wants to be the next one to lose his life.
”Authorities, industry, researchers - everyone is heading in the same direction. That's why I think LASH FIRE will have a major impact”, Franz Evegren says.
The project LASH FIRE (Legislative Assessment for Safety Hazards of Fire and Innovations in Ro-ro ship Environment) aims to develop maritime fire safety solutions with innovative technologies, operations and applications.
It will provide a basis for the revision of international maritime regulations and gives European industry knowledge to build safer and more competitive ships for sustainable transport. The European Commission, via its research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, invests 12.2 million euro in LASH FIRE over 4 years, starting in September 2019.
LASH FIRE is funded through the European Union's research and innovation program Horizon 2020.
The Picture: December the 28th, 2014, an Italian Navy helicopter conducting a major evacuation from M/V Norman Atlantic.
Photo: Italian Navy