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Webinar replay: Do we need to do more to ensure the safe carriage of vehicles onboard ships?

17/06/2022

In this webinar we heard from a maritime operator, an insurer and a specialist in lithium-ion batteries on the current situation and the risks involved in vehicle transportation. We also discussed approaches to possible solutions and heard from a technologist on the potential for new technology adoption.

The global passenger ferry industry has averaged more than 1,000 fatalities per year since the 1960s, with the great majority occurring on domestic voyages in Asia and Africa.

Both industry and regulators have undoubtedly made significant strides on safety during this period, however fast forward to 2020 – 2022 and there remain evolving challenges to vessel safety. For example, despite vehicles being covered by the provisions of the IMDG Code we have seen several high-profile examples of catastrophic fires on board car-carriers and ferries, at least one resulting in total loss. Although the cause of the fires has not yet been determined insurers continue to warn that the transportation of vehicles fitted with lithium-ion batteries are an emerging risk for both Ro/Ro Passenger vessel and pure car and truck carriers (PCTC’s).

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) recently published guidance for the safe carriage of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) in Ro-Ro spaces of passenger and cargo ships to tackle this emerging challenge.

This report examines how AFVs are a serious safety concern which, when coupled with the enormous growth of the AFV fleet indicates how industry is being presented with new safety challenges. With uncertainty over the potential fire risks and unfamiliarity with any associated fire characteristics it is not clear if the maritime sector has the solutions to provide safe transportation of vehicles.

Moderated by Rich McLoughlin, Head of Maritime Engagement at Safetytech Accelerator, our webinar panellists were:

Martin Carlsson, Project Manager Fire Safety, Stena Teknik

Dr. Paul Christensen, Lithiumionsafety Ltd

Colin Gillespie, Director (Loss Prevention), North P&I

Osher Perry, Founder and CEO, ShipIn

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Biographies

Martin Carlsson, Project Manager Fire Safety, Stena Teknik

Since starting as deck hand in Stena Line, Martin has ever since had his heart with RoRo and RoPax vessels. After serving on various vessels, studying at the Nautical Academy and a Naval Architecture degree he landed a role in the Lloyds Register HQ R&D team. He moved on to VP Design of RoRo equipment supplier TTS Marine.

Since 2019 Martin has worked at Stena Teknik on fire safety of RoRo and RoPax ships, participating with operators in numerous fire safety research projects. He supports Swedish Shipowners Association, Swedish Flagstate, and EMSA in developing future fire safety regulations and is deeply involved in setting new standards for transporting vehicles with alternative fuels.

Dr. Paul Christensen, Lithiumionsafety Ltd

Owner of Lithiumionsafety.co.uk and founding Director of Lithiumionsafety Ltd, Paul’s research team was the first to link vapour cloud explosions to lithium-ion battery energy storage systems. Paul holds formal positions as Senior Advisor to the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), Special Advisor to Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (FRS), Advisor to the UK Faraday Battery Challenge on lithium-ion safety and Guest instructor at UK Fire Services College.

Among several awards, he was the recipient of 2022 Motorola Foundations Knowledge Event Series award from the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council for lecture tour of Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. Paul sits on numerous working groups including the Cross-Government Technical Steering Group for EV fire safety.

Colin Gillespie, Director (Loss Prevention), North P&I

Following a career at sea Colin has worked in Loss Prevention for 16 years. He is accountable for all aspects of North’s Loss prevention service.

Osher Perry, Founder and CEO, ShipIn

Osher Perry is the Co-Founder and CEO of ShipIn Systems, a Boston-based Fleet Vision platform. ShipIn unlocks ship-to-shore collaboration with visual analytics, reducing losses by 40% and increasing productivity by 8%. Osher is a former naval (Lt. Commander) officer who brings significant experience in establishing strategic partnerships and fostering innovation to deliver value creation in operations. Osher holds an MBA from Tel Aviv University, and Harvard Business School Executive Education. He is a Commercial Ocean Yachtmaster who has sailed around the world.

Rich McLoughlin, Head of Maritime Engagement, Safetytech Accelerator

As a marine professional for 22 years, Rich has contributed through the work of Lloyd’s Register to the compliance, assurance and performance of marine assets and, from commercial and strategic perspectives, provided focus on specific market segments and product offers. He is currently the Head of Maritime Engagement for the Safetytech Accelerator with the objective to encourage wider adoption of technologies to improve safety and risk performance in maritime.

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