9th session of the Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE 9)

By Lars Lange, Secretary General, IUMI

The ninth session of the Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE 9) was held from 27 February to 3 March 2023 at the IMO in London. It was chaired by Umut Şentürk from Türkiye. Hendrike Kühl represented IUMI at the meeting. Key issues addressed by the committee included:


Containership fires

The Sub-Committee has been tasked to develop amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 and the FSS Code concerning the detection and control of fires in cargo holds and on the cargo deck of containerships. This issue has been advanced to the IMO’s agenda with strong support and input from IUMI.

For this session, the SSE Sub-Committee had for its consideration two proposals. One suggests fixed water monitors as an alternative to a mobile water monitor to improve the fire-fighting capability for the cargo deck area of containerships. The second proposal included video fire detection systems as an alternative means to improve the detection capability of fires on deck cargo areas of containerships.

Following a brief discussion and having noted that the proposals would be better addressed together with the outcome of the expected meeting of the FSA Experts Group that would review the report of the CARGOSAFE FSA study, the Sub-Committee agreed to postpone the consideration of the proposals to the next session to ensure a holistic approach.


Fires on RoRo passenger ships

The Sub-Committee completed its review of SOLAS chapter II-2 and the Fire Safety Systems (FSS) Code to minimise the incidences and consequences of fires on board RoRo passenger ships. The draft amendments agreed by the Sub-Committee will be forwarded to MSC 107 for approval. The draft SOLAS amendments will mainly apply to passenger ships constructed on or after 1 January 2026 and include requirements for the following:

  • fixed fire detection and fire alarm system provided for the area on the weather deck intended for the carriage of vehicles;
  • an effective video monitoring system shall be arranged in the vehicle, special category and ro-ro spaces for continuous monitoring of these spaces;
  • structural fire protection in passenger ships carrying more than 36 passengers, including fire insulation of boundary bulkheads and decks of special category and RoRo spaces; and
  • a fixed water-based fire-extinguishing system based on the monitor(s) to be installed to cover weather decks intended for the carriage of vehicles.

The draft amendments to the FSS Code include specifications of fixed water-based fire-extinguishing on RoRo passenger ships having weather decks intended for the carriage of vehicles. Draft amendments to the Revised Guidelines for the design and approval of fixed water-based fire-fighting systems for RoRo and special category spaces were also agreed upon.


Fire protection of control stations and cargo control rooms

The Sub-Committee finalised draft amendments to regulation 7 of SOLAS chapter II-2 (Detection and alarm), which addresses fire protection of control stations and cargo control rooms on cargo ships to enhance fire safety in such locations.