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Class notation to reduce cruise engineroom fires

Fri 07 Jun 2019 by Gavin Lipsith

Class notation to reduce cruise engineroom fires
Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen (DNV GL): Cruise line learnings are being passed on to other ship segments

Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) has become the first shipowner to adopt a new class notation that seeks to boost engineroom fire prevention.

The company has been running a project with class society DNV GL and Wärtsilä since 2016 to assess risks and identify the biggest risk factors. The result is a new class notation from DNV GL which indicates that systems, processes and crew-related factors are in place to enhance the main safety barriers to prevent fires in machinery spaces.

RCL’s new vessel Navigator of the Seas is the first ship to receive the F(M-P) notation. The cruise line’s other vessels will also be adapted to the new notation.

“Our target is zero engine room fires,” said RCL vice president of global technical solutions Anders Aasen. “With these enhanced standards we believe this goal is within reach.”

The notation introduces checks and measures to prevent flammable liquid from reaching hot surfaces - a big cause of engineroom fires identified in casualty statistics. Likely areas for leakage are identified and containment strategies suggested; maintenance of insulation is emphasised; and vibration control and monitoring of essential systems are required.

DNV GL Maritime CEO Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen said: “This notation shows the importance of learning from casualty data and how, by combining this with the insights from class and industry, we can work together to move safety forward.”

Mr Ørbeck-Nilssen also proposed five ways in which the industry could improve its approach to safety: adopting holistic regulations that put the focus on safety; improving safety culture within shipping companies; applying barrier management techniques from other industries; increasing transparency on incident findings; and breaking data silos to improve insight into incidents and near misses.

Although total ship losses have been cut from 151 in 2008 to 94 in 2017, more than 75% of safety incidents are still attributed to human error, said Mr Ørbeck-Nilssen. Meanwhile incorrect cargo declaration, cyber attacks and fuel issues are on the rise.

“In a time where shipping is transforming rapidly, I believe it is crucial to make sure that safety is at the core of all changes, whether it is ways of working, technology or regulations,” he said.

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