Q&A with Anders Kristensen Project Manager, CARGOSAFE Study, Department for Advanced Services/ Energy & Transport (DBI)

What is DBI, and what is your role at the institute?

DBI is a Danish institute of Fire and Security Technology. We specialise in fire and security and work targeted to protect lives and properties. DBI offers a wide range of fire prevention, fire technology, and security services and aims to help our customers achieve the best safety solutions. Furthermore, DBI offers holistic solutions based on our highly specialised professional knowledge and long experience. Our goal is to broaden our knowledge base to achieve the best safety solutions.

Within DBI, we have a team of experienced maritime experts covering, among other things, maritime accident investigation, ship design, classification societies, authorities and international rule development. Our mission is to promote DBI’s 360° approach to fire safety and a safe green transition for the maritime industry.

We believe ships and fires are unique, require unique solutions and that behavioural aspects in operations and design are key.

On a more personal note, I have been part of DBI since December 2022 as a project manager, heading the EMSA-funded CARGOSAFE safety study, where DBI leads the consortium. 


How often do container fires occur, and are we seeing more of them today compared to 10 to 15 years ago?

In the last 20 years, there has been more than 500% growth in TEU transported.

Until 2010 there was an average of three serious fire-related accidents per year; from 2010 to 2020, the average has been eight per year. (Based on the statistics available to us).

Statistically, the probability of a fire on board container vessels increases by the number of containers on board. With more than 500% growth over the last 20 years and increased vessel size, fires on board are more likely to occur.


Container vessels and crew will have several protocols to tackle onboard container fires. What are some of the most effective methods to extinguish a container fire?

In CARGOSAFE, we have assessed various Risk Control Options. The CAGOSAFE study will propose the eight most cost-effective solutions for reducing the risk of fire in containers on cargo ships across the four themes of prevention, detection, firefighting, and containment.

As the report has not been published, we cannot elaborate further on the specific RCOs.


What are the leading causes of increased fires on RoRo and container vessels?

RoRo vessels were not part of CARGOSAFE; however, DBI has just finished and published a report on the project called ELBAS, which focuses on ‘New Technologies and Methods for Suppression, Containment & Extinguishing of Battery Car Fires Onboard Ships”.

As to the leading causes of increased fires, for example, new and different types of cargo on container vessels, this was heavily investigated in CARGOSAFE and will be included in the final report. Unfortunately, we cannot say more at this stage.


In a nutshell, what does the CARGOSAFE study entail?

CARGOSAFE is a safety study tendered by European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

It has the goal of exploring the market for cost-efficient technical solutions for reducing the risk of fires in containers on container ships and provide recommendations to form EMSA’s stance on a European negotiation mandate on the subject at the IMO.

The safety study aims to identify cost-effective risk control options for cargo fires onboard container vessels – newbuilds and existing vessels.

The study follows the FSA approach as described in MSC- MEPC. 2/Circ.12/rev.2 Revised guidelines for formal safety assessment (FSA) for use in the IMO rule-making process.

A hazard identification was carried out covering Detection, Containment, Firefighting, and Prevention.


What is the further process once the CARGOSAFE results are available publicly?

We have handed over the project to EMSA and are in the process of finalising it.

EMSA, the project owner, handles making the results public. From there, the project will be treated in the IMO and the respective relevant sub-committee.