In response to the growing transport of electric vehicles (EVs) on ships, concerns about safety have heightened within the industry. Addressing these concerns, the Korean Register (KR) has introduced the AFP-C(EV) notation under Rule 8, Appendix 8-9, 402.3, focusing on Pure Car and Truck Carrier (PCTC) and Pure Car Carrier (PCC) vessels.
Understanding the Need
As advancements in technology diversify the types of cargo transported on ships, the increase in the shipment of new types of goods, including EVs, has raised concerns about fire risks. While safety standards for EV transport are under development by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and related organizations, clear and established guidelines are yet to be defined.
Given the unique challenges posed by EV transport, such as the characteristics of known EV battery fires, the Korean Register has collaborated with PCTC operators and shipyards to develop safety standards. This collaborative effort considered both cost and feasibility, resulting in the completion of the AFP-C(EV) notation, aimed at enhancing safety levels for these vessels.
Application of AFP-C(EV) Notation
The AFP-C(EV) notation is designed for ocean-going PCTC/PCC ships, and its application is optional. Ships can adopt this notation if they meet the requirements outlined in Rule 8, Annex 8-9, 402.3. The drawings and inspection scope related to this notation are determined in collaboration with shipowners and shipyards, minimizing their burden and staying within the general inspection scope defined by the classification society.
Requirements for AFP-C(EV) Notation
The notation emphasizes two main operational aspects: fire detection and suppression. It mandates the installation of equipment for practical response in ship areas, focusing on:
- Combined-type smoke and heat detectors for Ro-Ro and vehicle areas.
- CCTV cameras for monitoring these areas, providing color images for remote observation.
- Portable thermal imaging cameras for detecting temperature variations.
2. Fire Detection and Fire Alarm System
- Combined-Type Smoke and Heat Detector: Recognizing the limitations of current SOLAS and FSS Code requirements, the notation calls for combined-type detectors to effectively detect smoke and heat, especially in areas with EVs.
- Camera (CCTV): Due to the vast and multi-deck nature of PCTC/PCC ships, CCTV installation is crucial for remote monitoring, addressing the difficulty of visual identification within vehicle areas.
- Portable Thermal Imaging Camera: Deploying explosion-proof thermal cameras aids in confirming that temperatures remain stable after suppressing flames.
3. Fixed Fire-Extinguishing System
- CO2 Fire-Extinguishing System: Considering the challenges of CO2 systems, the notation suggests a non-permanent connection for supplying water to CO2 discharge pipes. This serves as an auxiliary means to cool down Ro-Ro and vehicle areas if CO2 is depleted or the system fails.
4. Fire-Fighting Equipment
- Fire-fighter’s Outfit: Recognizing the potential challenges of fire spread among densely loaded vehicles, the notation requires additional firefighter outfits beyond SOLAS requirements.
- Water Mist Lance and Fire Blanket: With EVs’ unique fire risks, the notation demands the placement of water mist lances and fire blankets in each enclosed cargo area, providing additional means to contain and extinguish potential fires.
AFP-C(EV) Notation in Detail
Referencing Rule 8, Appendix 8-9, 402.3, the AFP-C(EV) notation specifies its application to Ro-Ro cargo ships and car carriers, outlining requirements for AFP-C and AFP-C(EV) in terms of fire detection, suppression, and additional equipment.
In summary, the introduction of the AFP-C(EV) notation by the Korean Register signifies a proactive approach to addressing the safety challenges associated with the increasing transport of electric vehicles on ships. This notation, with its comprehensive requirements, aims to enhance the safety standards for PCTC and PCC vessels, aligning with the evolving dynamics of maritime cargo. As the maritime industry adapts to new cargo types, such initiatives ensure that safety measures advance hand in hand with technological progress.