Practical solutions are hard to find, when it comes to containership fires

It is known that cargo misdeclaration along with the increasing size of containerships, and the lack of resources, are the main factors of the industry, when it comes to attempting to find a way to reduce the number of fires on containerships.

Major fires on container ships are among the worst hazards for shipping and open the door for huge claims. While there is no difficulty identifying where the problems lay when it comes to the causes of severe fires on container ships, practical solutions are hard to find.

…as the panel stated.

What is more, speaker at the panel, Patrick Hudson of Envista Forensics noted that one of the biggest problems is the ever-increasing size of containerships, a trend that showed no sign of stopping.

They are 400 metres long and 60 metres wide, with 24,000 teus, all run by 23 crew. It’s very hard to fight a fire if you can’t get to it. If you don’t know that you have a fire, you can’t fight it.

At the same time, Dr Hudson said that smoke detectors alone, only serve to detect a fire when the smoke had escaped from a sealed container, so by that time you would already have a serious fire.

As explained, equipment is also an issue. It is improving and there is great technology out, but with only smoke detectors covering the general holds at the moment, by the time you actually know that you’ve got a problem, the problem is already quite big.

In addition, due to cargo misdeclaration, it is observed that the firefighting crew cannot trust the smoke, which could be toxic. Therefore, as the ship is moving, the direction of the smoke could change.

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