New output on container fire issues approved by MSC 103

By Lars Lange, IUMI Secretary General

IUMI had co-sponsored, together with the Flag States of Germany and Bahamas, the shipowner association BIMCO and the shipbuilder’s association CESA, a submission to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee’s (MSC) 102nd session with a view to amending SOLAS. Due to COVID-19 and the interruption of IMO meetings, the adoption of the new output was postponed until MSC 103 in May 2021. Finally, MSC 103 agreed, based on papers MSC 102/21/3 and 102/21/7, to include in the biennial agenda of the Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE) Sub-Committee for 2022-2023 and the provisional agenda for SSE 8 an output on "Development of amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 and the FSS Code concerning detection and control of fires in cargo holds and on the cargo deck of containerships", with a target completion year of 2025, in association with the CCC Sub-Committee as and when requested by the SSE Sub-Committee.

The amendments shall apply to new ships and they shall enhance provisions for early fire detection and effective control of fires in containerised cargoes stowed on and under deck of containerships. They shall enter into force on 1 January 2028, provided that they are adopted before 1 July 2026. A group of experts has been formed under IUMI’s leadership to support work on the new output.