Several amendments and recommendations that involve the cruise and ferry industry were agreed at the 7th session of IMO’s Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE), which was held in London between 2nd to 6th March, 2020.
In the fire protection sector, fire safety of ro-ro passenger ships was discussed.
Several serious fire incidents have occurred on vehicle decks on ropaxes over the past decade. The IMO intends to implement SOLAS amendments to address this, targeting entry into force on 1st January, 2024.
SSE 7 focused on appropriate measures for new ropaxes, including enhanced fire detection, CCTV and monitors on the weather deck. Suitable measures for existing ships were also considered. Discussions will continue in a correspondence group until SSE 8 (March, 2021).
The meeting agreed on draft amendments to the ‘Revised guidelines for the design and approval of fixed water-based fire-fighting systems for ro-ro spaces’ (MSC.1/Circ.1430/Rev.1).
It was agreed to extend the maximum height for these systems from nine to 10 m for alignment with the definition of special category spaces. The draft amendments will be submitted to MSC 103 (November, 2020) for approval.
SSE 7 also agreed on draft amendments to chapter 9 of the Fire Safety Systems (FSS) Code, addressing fixed fire detection systems, to adjust the requirements to short circuit isolators.
It was agreed that short circuit isolators do not need to be provided at each individually identifiable fire detector for passenger ship balconies.
The draft amendments will be also be submitted to MSC 103 for approval.
Isolated pantries on passenger ships carrying more than 36 passengers were also addressed.
SSE 7 agreed to a unified interpretation to clarify acceptable structural fire protection arrangements for isolated pantries (fire risk Category 9) on board ships carrying more than 36 passengers.
The IMO has since suspended all meetings for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19, as many delegates travel from overseas to attend.