Usage of Fire Detection System on Ships

by İpek Yavuz Konak
on 25 June 2020

Fire is a disaster that can cause serious damage and loss of life and property in the place where it occurs. Especially if this place is a ship, early detection and extinguishing of fire is critical for life and property safety.

Ensuring safety in ships, not just fire, is an international issue that concerns countries. The basic security standards of the ships were determined in the SOLAS contract, which was published in line with this target and which 162 countries are parties to. In the section II-2 of the SOLAS contract, which deals with many issues from the construction of the ships to its communication, from navigation to cargo transportation, there are items related to fire protection, fire detection and extinguishing.

What is SOLAS?

SOLAS consists of the initials of the words “Safety of Life at Sea”. Following the Titanic ship accident in 1912, the first SOLAS contract entered into force in 1914. Later, SOLAS contracts were updated in 1929, 1948, 1960 and 1974, was revised many times in the following years.

On 1 July 2002, SOLAS 74 contract was revised in line with the developments in fire safety. In SOLAS 74, Part II-2, the things to be done to ensure the safety of ships against fire are specified. This section contains articles about fire prevention, detection, extinguishing, evacuation of people and implementation of other fire scenarios.

In addition, in the 2002 revision of the SOLAS 74 contract, the technical aspects required for fire safety are included in a different document under the title FSS (Fire Safety Systems) Code in order to make the contract more lean. Technical characteristics of the fire detection system components (panel, detector, manual call point, sounder, etc.) to be used in ships are specified in FSS Code section 9, the principles of assembly and projecting.

What should I consider when choosing a fire detection system for ships?

One of the most important points in the selection of fire detection system to be used in ship applications is product quality. The products must be tested according to the SOLAS 74 and FSS norms and have a marine certificate. Turkish Lloyd in Turkey on this issue, while overseas RMRS (Russian Maritime Register of Shipping), Rina, BUREAU VERITAS, ABS and so on. certification bodies provide services.

Fire detection systems must be used in order to detect the fire in the earliest way. While designing the system to be used, the size of the ship, intended use, population density, materials contained in it, etc. many parameters should be considered. For example: When designing a fire detection system to be used on a densely populated passenger ship, evacuation plan must be created.

Two types of fire detection systems, addressable and conventional, can be used on ships. Addressable systems are often used on large, high-populated ships, where fire should be perceived as points. In small applications, conventional systems with regional sensing are preferred.

The choice of detector to be used in the area is also very important. Heat detectors should be used in places where steam is dense, such as kitchens and engine rooms. Crew and passenger rooms, control room etc. In places, smoke detector will be suitable. In addition, fire detection buttons must be available in corridors and escape routes.

As a result, SOLAS 74 contract and FSS norms are in force to ensure life and property safety in ships. In the light of these internationally sanctioned norms, ships must comply with the specified safety standards. Fire detection systems play an active role in ensuring fire safety on ships. It is very important to choose the system that is suitable for the ship’s characteristics, to have the marine certificate of the products, to design the systems in accordance with the standards, to install and periodic maintenance.