Following the deadly fire aboard Maersk Honam earlier this year, Maersk has implemented new guidelines for the stowage of dangerous cargo.
On Tuesday 6 March, the liner vessel Maersk Honam reported a serious fire in one of its cargo holds. Five of the ship’s 27 crew members lost their lives when the blaze proved impossible to contain.
“All cargo aboard Maersk Honam was accepted as per the requirements of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code and stowed onboard the vessel accordingly. Despite this, as the fire originated in a cargo hold in front of the accommodation which held several containers with dangerous goods, it had an unbearably tragic outcome,” says Ole Graa Jakobsen, Head of Fleet Technology at Maersk.
“This clearly showed us that the international regulations and practices with regards to dangerous goods stowage needs to be reviewed in order to optimally protect crew, cargo, environment and vessels.”
The company evaluated over 3,000 UN numbers of hazardous materials to further understand and improve dangerous cargo stowage on container vessels and subsequently developed a new set of principles: Risk Based Dangerous Goods Stowage.
Cargo covered under the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code will no longer be stowed next to accommodation and main propulsion plant, which is defined as the zone with the lowest risk tolerance.
Similarly, risk tolerance will be low below deck and in the middle of the vessel, while the risk tolerance will be higher on deck fore and aft. Utilizing statistics on container fires in the Cargo Incident Notification System (CINS), Maersk defined which UN numbers can be stored in each risk zone.
In the coming months, a review aimed at creating best management practices for dangerous goods stowage will be undertaken with participation from ABS, Lloyds Register and the National Cargo Bureau, among others.
Once the project is completed the best management practices will be published and presented to the IMO.