Major maritime cargo carriers are joining Safetytech Accelerator to launch a new innovation initiative to reduce cargo fires and losses at sea. The companies involved are Evergreen Line, HMM, Maersk, the Offen Group, ONE, Seaspan and Lloyd’s Register.

Together they seek to find and advance technology innovations from across maritime and other industrial sectors to reduce the incidence and impact of cargo fires or cargo loss overboard. Safetytech Accelerator is the world’s first industrial safety technology accelerator.

The scale and breadth of the challenges facing operators is growing and continues to evolve. These include the increasing carriage of lithium-ion batteries either in containers or within electric vehicles on car carriers and the increasing growth in complexity and size of modern container vessels. Fire and cargo loss at sea not only has an immediate impact on the safety of those on board, but also creates the potential for significant environmental damage.

Also read: JR Shipping container ship suffers fire, crew evacuated

Technlogy solutions and trials

The Safetytech Accelerator Cargo Fire & Loss Innovation Initiative (CFLII) is a collaborative technology acceleration programme that will help tackle the issue through shaping joint requirements, identifying technology solutions, undertaking carefully designed trials and developing best practices and recommendations.

The Initiative has a broad scope encompassing three significant topics of concern. The first relates to onboard cargo control, including whether cargo has been properly, loaded, secured and monitored during transit. The second area covers the ability to detect fire on board and stop its spread through effective onboard response, particularly on large container ships and car-carriers. The third relates to the challenges created by the increasing scale of vessels.

Also read: Ship fires not decreasing and still a major cause of total loss

‘Vital to work together to tackle risk of cargo fires’

‘We’re excited to start this initiative, working alongside the Anchor Partners to trial and adopt innovative technology for the prevention of cargo fires on board, thus helping to make container shipping a safer operation,’ says Global Containerships Segment Director at Lloyd’s Register (LR), and Chair of the Maritime Cargo Fire and Loss Initiative, Nick Gross. ‘From LR side, the objective of the initiative resonates with our mandate to improve the safety of ships and crew, as well as protect the marine ecosystem. We believe it is vital to work together to tackle the increasing risk of cargo fires onboard container ships.’

The Head of Marine Standards & DPA of Maersk, Aslak Ross, adds: ‘The safety of our people is always of highest importance. Reducing the risk of cargo fires is accordingly a key priority for Maersk and the industry at large. The main root cause for cargo fires on container ships is the integrity of dangerous goods throughout the supply chain. Therefore, it is a problem that can only be improved through industry wide solutions and for that reason we are a strong believer in sharing of learnings across the industry to improve safety.’

Shipping companies who would like to know more about the Initiative, and technology companies with experience or interest in addressing the topics of concern indicated above, are invited to contact Safetytech Accelerator for further information.

Picture: Car carrier Felicity Ace suffered a fire in February 2022 and subsequently sank on 1 March (picture by the Portuguese Navy (Marinha Portuguesa)).

Also read: Allianz: ‘Fire, collision, sinking and damaged cargo top causes of marine insurance losses’