A new loss prevention guide on preventing, detecting and fighting fires on roll on roll off vessels has been published. North P&I Club has offered a free 10 page guide on their website. It explains how ro-ro fires start, why they’re so dangerous and how to prevent them from ever starting in the first place.
Ro-ro vessels ship cars, trucks and other automobiles across the ocean. This cargo is inherently more dangerous than other shipping material, simply because of the risk for fire. Vehicles are often shipped with their keys in their ignition, making them ticking time bombs. The tiniest thing can go wrong and the vehicle – and nearby cargo – can go up in flames.
The North P&I guide recommends that every vehicle being shipped be thoroughly inspected before being loaded on the vessel. They recommend storing used vehicles with other used vehicles, and all vehicles should be securely fastened to prevent movement. Contact between the vehicles should be prevented at all costs, as the more they touch, the greater the chance for a fuel tank explosion.
Training is also key in preventing fires, the guide says. Crew members should be familiar with the location and use of all fire fighting equipment. Regular practice of realistic drills is important, too. Of course, all the training in the world will be worth nothing if the crew is not vigilant for signs of a fire. North P&I Club encourages all crew members to stay alert during loading and unloading – and to pay attention to loose debris on deck or near vehicles.
If you’ve been injured because of the negligence of someone else, you may want to speak with an attorney. Richard Serpe gained a Master’s Degree in maritime law from Tulane University School of Law. He has also been awarded the rank of Proctor (the highest rank available) from the Maritime Law Association of the United States.