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container ship fire

Interview: with Mehdi Majid, Fleet Engineering at Seaspan Corporation


The Cargo Fires & Loss Innovation Initiative (CFLII) is a multi-year collaborative technology acceleration programme, led by Safetytech Accelerator, focused on reducing cargo fires and loss in maritime and its impact.  Safetytech Accelerator, along with the Initiative Anchor Partners, have been addressing key challenges through a combination of thought leadership, road mapping of technologies and scouting to rapidly identify and pilot high potential, practical technologies to mitigate the impact of maritime fire and loss.

We spoke with Mehdi Majid, Manager, Fleet Engineering (Electrical) at Seaspan Corporation, to explore the significance of Seaspan’s involvement as an Anchor Partner in the Cargo Fire and Loss Innovation Initiative (CFLII).

“The importance of collaborative initiatives, such as CFLII, is recognized. Working together as an industry is the most effective way to develop and implement advanced solutions, as it allows us to pool our expertise and resources.” Mehdi MajidMehdi Majid Seaspan

What led Seaspan Corporation to join the Cargo Fire and Loss programme as an Anchor Partner, and what advantages are you gaining from this initiative?


MM: Seaspan’s decision to become an Anchor Partner in the Cargo Fire and Loss Innovation Initiative (CFLII) is driven by recognizing the urgency of cargo fire issues in the maritime industry. These fires pose severe threats to both human lives and valuable cargo, necessitating a proactive and collective approach. CFLII, led by Safetytech Accelerator, offers transformative potential. As an Anchor Partner, Seaspan gains distinct benefits including:

  • Fostering Collaboration: Anchor Partners drive cross-industry collaboration, addressing cargo fire challenges collectively for the global supply chain’s benefit.
  • Minimizing Catastrophic Impact: Early detection is critical to reducing the severity of cargo fires, and Seaspan actively contributes to innovative technology development for safer cargo and lives.
  • Leading Industry Progress: Anchor Partners like Seaspan lead the adoption of cutting-edge solutions, staying at the forefront of industry challenges.
  • Demonstrating Leadership: Seaspan’s participation in CFLII demonstrates its unwavering commitment to safety, innovation, and industry leadership.

Seaspan’s involvement in CFLII is not just about tackling cargo fires; it is about leading the way in creating a safer and more innovative maritime industry, ensuring that our vessels and the entire global supply chain are better protected against this critical threat.


What technologies have caught your attention, and which ones have left a strong impression on you?


MM: The CFLII’s inaugural challenge area, focusing on “Early-stage fire detection within the cargo hold,” has introduced a range of captivating technologies aimed at enhancing safety and reducing damage. Here are some noteworthy innovations:

  • Advanced Sensors: Tailored to detect fire signs (heat, smoke, gas emissions) in cargo holds, enabling swift alerts and fire containment.
  • Real-Time Monitoring: State-of-the-art systems offer real-time fire data, enhancing firefighting techniques and resource allocation.
  • Smoke Detection: Modern cargo ships use advanced systems to swiftly identify smoke or fire presence in cargo holds.
  • High-Precision Heat Detection: This technology identifies temperature anomalies, allowing timely fire mitigation.

Seaspan Corporation prioritizes IoT-based and linear computer sensor detection technologies, reinforcing commitment to maritime safety and innovation.


Has this changed your perception about the availability of solutions for this complex challenge?


MM: It is good to see that diverse technology fields are converging to offer viable solutions. The urgency of addressing cargo fires is clear to shipping experts, and my view on available solutions can be summed up as follows:

  • Ongoing Progress: We have made significant strides in managing cargo fire risks, but there is a continued need for progress to enhance safety and reduce losses.
  • Tech Advancements: There is a consensus among experts, including myself, that technological evolution is essential for early fire detection and containment. New technology offers more efficient and proactive solutions alongside traditional firefighting measures.
  • Collaborative Emphasis: The importance of collaborative initiatives, such as CFLII, is recognized. Working together as an industry is the most effective way to develop and implement advanced solutions, as it allows us to pool our expertise and resources.


 In your opinion, what is the added value of the Cargo Fire and Loss initiative?


MM: The Cargo Fire and Loss Innovation Initiative brings significant added value to the maritime industry across various dimensions, like:

  • Environment Protection: Early fire detection and containment can reduce environmental damage caused by cargo fires. This includes minimizing air and water pollution, protecting marine ecosystems, and preventing the release of hazardous materials.
  • Sustainability: CFLII promotes sustainable practices by reducing the environmental impact of cargo fires. It aligns with global efforts to enhance sustainability within the shipping industry.
  • Saving Seafarers’ Lives: The safety of seafarers is paramount. By preventing or containing fires early, CFLII contributes to the well-being and lives of those working on container ships.
  • Economic Impact: Cargo fires result in significant financial losses. CFLII’s initiatives can help mitigate these losses, benefiting the economic viability of the shipping industry.
  • Technological Advancements: The initiative fosters innovation, encouraging the development and adoption of advanced technologies that improve safety, efficiency, and competitiveness in the container shipping sector


What outcomes are you hoping to achieve?


MM: Investing in advanced technology solutions for container fire management can yield several process outcomes for shipping companies, including:

  • Safety Enhancement: By implementing innovative fire detection and containment technologies, we ensure the safety of both crew members and cargo.
  • Loss Reduction: Early detection and intervention lead to minimized damage, resulting in reduced financial losses and insurance claims.
  • Operational Efficiency: Improved fire detection and containment systems optimize resource allocation, reducing the need for extensive firefighting efforts.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Embracing advanced technologies ensures compliance with industry regulations and safety standards, essential for seamless container ship operations.
  • Competitive Edge: Companies adopting innovative solutions gain a competitive advantage, attracting safety and reliability-conscious customers.


What other challenge areas would you like to consider for technology innovation? 


MM: We are particularly interested in exploring technology innovation for achieving rapid and effective solutions to fight, limit, and extinguish container cargo fires, especially in areas that are hard to access.


Is there anything else you would like to add?


MM: In closing, the Cargo Fire and Loss Innovation Initiative (CFLII) offers a significant opportunity for the maritime industry to tackle cargo fires on container ships. Seaspan Corporation’s role in enhancing safety, reducing risks, and driving technological advancements is pivotal. With cutting-edge fire detection technologies, collaborative endeavours, and profound impacts on various industry aspects, CFLII stands to bolster container shipping, making it safer, more sustainable, and economically efficient. Embracing these innovations promises improved safety, reduced losses, and a competitive edge in the dynamic maritime sector.


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