(Observe: This text was initially written and submitted to gCaptain previous to the Felicity Ace fireplace, the reason for which isn’t but identified. It has been up to date to incorporate commentary on this occasion and the rising Grimaldi/Euroferry fireplace off Corfu within the Mediterranean.)
Fireplace onboard a ship may be catastrophic. Many sorts of fires have normal firefighting procedures, however progressive installations onboard or completely different cargoes result in new dangers. A type of rising dangers is within the carriage of electrical automobiles (EV) onboard roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) vessels specifically.
Way back to 2013, the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Constructing and City Improvement had commissioned a study to find out if the carriage of electrical automobiles on ro-pax or ro-ro vessels elevated the danger of fireside onboard. The conclusion was that the carriage of electrically powered automobiles (BEV and HEV) ends in an elevated danger of fireside. The examine moreover addressed fireplace safety and firefighting procedures together with a dialogue of extra firefighting measures onboard ro-pax and ro-ro vessels.
“Within the occasion of a lithium ion battery catching fireplace, you will need to be aware that such a hearth reaches very excessive temperatures, produces poisonous gases and is inextinguishable.”
The suggestions from the German BMVBS included :
- BEV/HEV and FC automobiles needs to be transported in particular areas (geared up with applicable detectors, fire-extinguishing gear and fire-extinguishing brokers). Within the case of a fireplace, presumably separation of such automobiles via a water wall or cell partitions (curler blinds).
- The notice of fire-fighting groups needs to be raised with regard to the risks arising from BEV/HEV and FC automobiles and their coaching needs to be prolonged accordingly.
In 2016, DNV-GL launched a report addressing fires on ro-ro cargo decks. It was not centered on electrical automobiles and addressed all components relating to ro-ro cargo fires in eighteen incidents. The suggestions included :
- Fast launch of the mounted fire-extinguishing system is necessary, specifically for open Ro-Ro decks the place the window of alternative could also be lower than 10 to 15 minutes.
- Shift of cargo represents a danger. A minimum of for cargo Ro-Ro and car carriers, improved cargo securing and climate routing needs to be thought-about.
- A coverage on find out how to deal with alternative-fuel automobiles needs to be developed, if relevant (know-how on right firefighting technique/challenges), though this isn’t recognized as a significant danger (it’s an unknown danger).
DNV-GL’s identification of “shift of cargo represents a danger” is especially pertinent to the carriage of electrical automobiles. The diagram under from the Journal of The Electrochemical Society seems at 4 circumstances that may result in lithium ion battery (LIB) thermal runaway – one in every of which is mechanical abuse. In different phrases, merely having lashings fail in a seaway with a cargo of EV shifting might result in a thermal runaway and ensuing fireplace.
As EV develop into extra widespread, they’re more and more being carried by ocean transportation. Whereas not particularly implicated in various latest ro-ro fires, the hazards of batteries normally have been recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard in Marine Safety Alert 06-20 Recognizing Fire Hazards & Proper Cargo Stowage on RO-RO Vessels and numerous safety and indemnity organizations together with the Britannia and UK P&I golf equipment.
The supply of the USCG MSA and the P&I membership articles are primarily accident studies from fires which have occurred. Very like the DNV-GL report of 2016, latest accident studies are used to achieve insights as to how comparable incidents is likely to be prevented. Sadly, entry to those studies is just not a assure as it’s on the discretion of the flag state investigating. As famous in the primary image above, the accident report for Sincerity Ace was submitted to IMO a 12 months in the past, but is just not publicly accessible from the flag state – Panama. It has been surmised that this ro-ro cargo fireplace – together with 5 fatalities – is likely to be EV-related.
Different info on how EV and LIB fires is likely to be fought may be discovered by going outdoors the maritime business. The Nationwide Fireplace Safety Affiliation (NFPA) has produced an Electric Vehicle Emergency Field Guide that addresses EV emergency response for first responders ashore. Sadly, lots of the procedures and proposals won’t be relevant at sea because of stowage and house.
There may be continued curiosity in EV and LIB fires in transportation. The U.S. Transportation Analysis Board has funded a study for 2022 noting, “Lithium-ion battery fireplace dangers are at present undermanaged in transit operations.” Extra instantly, the Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) hosted a presentation by Captain Jim Staples of Ocean River LLC, “Understanding the Danger when Carrying Electrical Autos on a Vessel,” on February 17th.
Captain Jim Staples presenting at SOCP
A few of the takeaways from Captain Staples’ presentation embody :
- Basic building of lithium-ion batteries
- Hazards of building – whether or not solely electrical or hybrid automobiles
- Overview of latest ro-ro fires and challenges of EV firefighting
- Recognized fast reference for emergency response to EV fires from producers and NFPA
- Present finest practices together with thermal cameras for early identification of thermal runaway and applicable PPE for shipboard first responders
Captain Staples additionally known as for the discharge of the accident report from Sincerity Ace, opining that the incident may need been associated to an EV fireplace. In the meantime, Felicity Ace continues to burn within the Atlantic Ocean to the Southwest of the Azores. The Portugese Navy is standing by after rescuing the crew of Felicity Ace and salvors are stated to be enroute. If salvors are in a position to include the hearth and produce the vessel to port, we will hope there are classes discovered that will probably be made public.
One other ongoing ro-ro fireplace is on a Grimaldi/Euroferry vessel working between the Greek port of Igoumenitsa to Brindisi, in japanese Italy. Catching fireplace at 9:30 PM (EST) on 17 February, one crewmember has been despatched ashore with accidents, two individuals are reported trapped on the automotive deck, with all different passengers and crew reported as secure. Preliminary phrase is that the hearth began on the cargo decks and the video under reveals intensive harm to vans stowed on the higher decks.
Grimaldi is not any stranger to fires onboard ro-ros with Grande Europa having a hearth onboard within the Mediterranean in 2019 and Grande America burning after which sinking within the Bay of Biscay in 2020. After these two occasions, Grimaldi said, “…with regards to rolling freight, the Grimaldi Group requests that there be extra controls on automotive batteries, which regularly trigger short-circuits on board vessels, in addition to in port terminals.”
Let’s be secure on the market!
Extra Studying and Hyperlinks