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Training to tackle fire safety at sea

31 / 01 / 2022

The safety threat posed to ships and seafarers by fires has been borne out in a new report highlighting an average of one fire on board vessels every two weeks during 2020. The Safety and Shipping Review by insurers Allianz showed that fires and explosions continued to be the third most common cause of total ship losses.

Oil leakage from high-pressure fuel pipes, sparks and heat build-up from hot work, electrical faults and flammable cargo were among the main sources of fires on board vessels over 100 gross tonnes, according to Allianz.

The report highlighted that cargo was responsible for 40 on board fires, quite often as a result of misdeclaration and improper packaging of hazardous goods. It stated: “Major incidents have shown container fires can easily get out of control and result in the crew abandoning the vessel on safety grounds, thus increasing the size of loss.”

The industry recognises that appropriate training for crews significantly helps to reduce the risk of fires on board, and Allianz believes this is one of the reasons why claims for total large vessel losses due to fire, although totalling 10 last year, remain at record low levels in 2020.

Mintra has developed a number of courses that help seafarers build knowledge of safe operations to mitigate against the risk of fire. Several FSE high and low voltage training raises awareness for all those working with electricity, including on ships, while Dangerous Goods by Sea focuses on the risk from cargo.

The course focuses on how to handle, store and ship goods, such as chemicals and batteries, that carry a danger when being transported in the cargo hold. Often this is because they have a high risk of igniting when not stored properly, or because the manner in which they are packed and stowed may restrict detection or firefighting.

Learners completing the course, which is accredited by CPD and written in accordance with International Maritime Organization codes, also gain an understanding of current regulations, including the classification of goods and appropriate labelling and packaging.

One of Mintra’s most recent additions to the maritime course library is the Maritime Fire Safety Course. It gives a basic understanding of fire prevention, detection and extinguishing methods and outlines the types of personal protective equipment required for firefighting.

The Maritime Fire Safety Course has been created in line with the STCW Basic Fire Fighting standards, so learners can be assured that the knowledge shared in the course is in line with the most up to date industry regulations and good practice.

These courses and many others are available to buy online – simply purchase the course, complete it and perform the assessment to receive certification. Further information is available on our course directory page.