The IMO has amended SOLAS regulation II-2/10, introducing new requirements for fire protection of on-deck cargo areas. The requirements apply to new ships constructed on or after 1 January, 2016, and include the following:
- All new ships designed to carry containers on or above the weather deck shall be fitted with at least one water mist lance, in addition to all other fire protection arrangements that should be provided on board as per existing regulations.
- All new ships designed to carry five or more tiers of containers on or above the weather deck shall also be provided with mobile water monitors, in addition to the water mist lance mentioned above and all other fire protection arrangements that should be provided on board as per existing regulations. Ships with a breadth up to 30 m should be provided with at least two mobile water monitors and ships with a breadth exceeding 30 m or more should be provided with at least four mobile water monitors.
The new requirements come in response to industry concerns regarding fire protection for cargo being carried on deck inside containers. These concerns included access to individual cargo units, as any container may be involved in a fire regardless of its location, and the equipment available to crews for tackling fires (currently only manual intervention using fire extinguishers and fire hoses is available, as weather decks are unlikely to provide any fixed fire suppression systems).
Guidance on design performance, testing and approval of mobile water monitors (MSC.1/Circ.1472)
The IMO has also released Circular MSC.1/Circ.1472 to provide guidance on design performance, testing and approval of mobile water monitors.
In addition, mobile water monitors will be included in future revisions of Circular MSC.1/Circ.1432 (Revised Guidelines for the Maintenance and Inspection of Fire Protection Systems and Appliances).