February 27 ------ Classification society DNV GL has awarded a new class notation to Swiss shipping major Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) to mitigate fire risks on containerships. This was announced by DNV GL – Maritime CEO Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen at DNV GL’s recent annual London press briefing. As informed, the FCS notation has been implemented on the largest containerships in the world, the 23,000+ TEU MSC Gülsün class.
Targeted exclusively towards boxships, the class notation is designed around a function-based approach, for an enhanced safety level beyond present SOLAS requirements, an increased hazard awareness, and an enhanced ability to detect and fight container fires, according to DNV GL. Applicable to both newbuildings and ships in operation, the notation is set up in a modular way. Owners can decide on the set of qualifiers best suited to their safety objectives and then choose the most efficient measures and technologies to reach these objectives. This approach is designed to foster the application of new and advanced technologies and ensuring that safety objectives are met in the most efficient way.
“In shipping, we must always have safety at the forefront of our thinking. As we move forward in design and in operation, becoming more sustainable and more efficient, safety must still underpin every decision,” Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO, DNV GL – Maritime, said. “Therefore, we are so proud to work with innovators like MSC, who when they push the envelope with designs like the MSC Gülsün class, are also looking to initiate a step change in safety. This new notation enables owners and operators to work with yards and designers to take advantage of new technology, in a way that suits their requirements and mitigates fire risk. Container ships have grown much larger in recent years and the volume of cargo carried on deck has expanded exponentially. Container fires, especially with the volume of cargo now being carried, can present a substantial risk to the safety of the crew, cargo and the vessel. This is why MSC decided to install new dual-tower fire-fighting system with high-capacity pumps to further enhance the safety of seafarers onboard and protect cargo carried across the whole deck of the ship,” Giuseppe Gargiulo, Head of Newbuildings, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, explained.
The FCS notations have been developed and piloted in cooperation with MSC and the 23,000+ TEU MSC Gülsün class are the first vessels to be awarded the notations. After a hazard identification (HAZID) workshop with DNV GL, MSC worked to develop a set of operational and technology measures to mitigate the fire risks onboard the vessels. These included the world’s first use of on-deck firefighting monitors – fixed water cannons to slow and stop the spread of fire by cooling, which have a reach of more than 100 meters. In addition, a unique thermal camera system was installed on MSC Febe, one of the Gülsün class ships, which tracks irregularities and alerts the crew to potential fires. DNV GL witnessed testing of the systems in operation, to verify that they meet the requirements of the notations.