(Reuters) — Global shipping companies are exploring ways to increase safety when transporting cargo as risks rise from fires breaking out in containers or in cars at sea, officials said on Wednesday.
Shipping transports around 90% of world trade on board various vessels, including container and ro-ro vessels, whose trade routes are becoming increasingly busy.
In a new initiative, leading carriers Evergreen Line of Taiwan, South Korea’s HMM, Denmark’s Maersk, Germany’s Offen Group, Singapore’s ONE (Ocean Network Express) and Hong Kong’s Seaspan and British ship certifier Lloyd’s Register said they are looking into studies to understand how cargo is loaded and also monitored at sea, as well as finding solutions to detect fire on board ships and accelerate ways to stop its spread.
“The priority for the first challenge area is to provide the earliest indication of a fire incident, thereby enabling appropriate actions on board to prevent the occurrence of major fires and losses,”; said Rich McLoughlin, Program Director of the Fire and Cargo Loss Innovation Initiative. Reuters.
“The initiative aims to provide evidence that new technologies can be used to improve response times compared to existing regulatory requirements, leading to improved ship safety.”
In its Safety and Shipping Review 2022, major insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty revealed that over 70 fires had been reported on board container ships in the past five years alone, with increasing risks for car carriers transporting electric vehicles with batteries.
“The number one cause of cargo fires on container ships is the integrity of dangerous goods throughout the supply chain. Therefore, it is a problem that can only be improved through industry-wide solutions,” Maersk’s Aslak Ross said separately in a statement.