TT Club: fire safety at sea calls for serious improvement

Fire safety at sea calls for serious improving

TT Club has raised awareness on improving measures to mitigate container ship fires still causing significant cargo losses and ship damage.

The company has estimated a 60-day average occurrence of serious fires – most recently the ZIM Charleston fire in August and the TSS Pearl in the Red Sea in October – and is therefore urging a more comprehensive approach to stop the trend.

“There were significant lessons coming from the sad incident on the MSC Flaminia, which cost the lives of three seafarers, particularly from the subsequent legal proceedings that adjudged the shipper and NVOC responsible for root cause errors,” says TT’s Peregrine Storrs-Fox.

“Despite the biennial updates to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, including multiple arising from this particular incident, the judge’s assessment that the regulations merely set the ‘baseline’ for good practice remains utterly true today.”

Ensuring compliance with the latest mandatorily applicable version of the IMDG Code is essential as a minimum standard for all shipping dangerous goods by sea – although the MSC Flaminia case showed methods still need refinement according to TT Club.

READ: TT Club urges IMO Member States to increase ‘sparse’ container inspections

TT advocates a comprehensive approach to bring an understanding of all the factors contributing to the fires and consequently underlining responsibilities for safety.

The insurance risk firm argued that errors, misunderstandings, mis-declarations and inadequate packing and securing lie at the heart of many incidents, and everyone involved in the process of cargo shipping – starting from sellers and buyers – has a duty to care and comply with safety measures.

Attention to accurate classification and declaration prove to be critical.

READ: Bangladesh depot fire aggravated by hazardous chemicals

Closely related to the issues specific to dangerous goods are those arising from packing cargo according to TT Club.

While the IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code) remains non-mandatory international law, it is clearly referenced from the IMDG Code.

Through its participation in the Cargo Integrity Group, TT Club has contributed to work on the ‘CTU Code – a quick guide’ as a route-map for the broad industry to engage more successfully with the CTU Code and to assist wider understanding of good packing practices.

In September, ICHCA International launched the 2022 TT Club Innovation in Safety Award, inviting entrants to submit details of their innovations.

The award, which is open to an individual, team or company involved in cargo logistics, has seen the prestige associated with winning or being highly commended grow year-on-year.

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