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Webinar replay: Cargo Fire – has the time come to re-think how we innovate out of it?


The frequency and severity of container ship fires is at an all-time high. There were 40 cargo-related fires in 2019 – one every 10 days on average. Many near-misses are going unreported, meaning the actual number is likely to be much higher, according to a 2020 report. This has been further evidenced by the recent fire on the X-Press Pearl off the coast of Sri Lanka which has wreaked untold long-lasting damage.

The problem is increasingly complex to solve as ships grow in size. It is ever more difficult to control what is loaded onto a ship, how cargo is configured, and understanding the risk profile of each cargo.

Technology has been touted as one of the solutions, as strides have been made in aspects such as early detection, sensors, communication between containers and portside data. However it is clear that no single solution is going to be the answer; it will take many different technologies to work together to decrease risks and increase safety.

On-board fire represents major strategic risk as any fire undermines investor relationships, client reputation, regulator and insurer relationships and political reputation.

This webinar took place on the 21st of July at 1pm, Safetytech Accelerator and Lloyd’s Register presented a panel discussion covering different sides of the challenge: a shipping company, an insurer a tech disruptor, and regulatory and investigatory bodies. The panel comprised:

Alfred Gomez – Director of Marine Standards and Designated Person Ashore, Seaspan
Peregrine Storrs-Fox – Risk Management Director, TT Club
Nick Chubb – Founder and Managing Director, Thetius
Danny Harwood – Deputy Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB)
Moderated by Nicola Good – for the Safetytech Accelerator &  Head of External Relations at Lloyd’s Register

The discussion covered:

  • The causes, and sometimes hidden causes, of fires and possible solutions
  • The blockers to solving these problems
  • The role of insurance and regulation in this area
  • The opportunities for disruption – and blockers to disruption
  • Where and how technology can play a role

This webinar is in the past – please use the form to request a recording.

Find out more about our Cargo Fire & Loss Initiative.

Panellist Biographies

Peregrine Storrs-Fox, Risk Management Director, TT Club

Peregrine read Law at Southampton University, specialising in the law of carriage and international trade. He has been with the TT Club since 1984, initially handling claims and providing advice, eventually culminating in directing claims operations worldwide for TT. Since 2002, Peregrine has led the TT’s loss prevention services. This has included the development of the CTU Code and the passage of the container loss debate at IMO leading to the revision to SOLAS requiring verified gross mass. Peregrine has led TT’s sustained campaigns dedicated to issues such as: inaccurate gross mass information; poor packing of cargo transport units; and misdeclaration of Dangerous Goods. He currently leads TT’s participation in the Cargo Integrity Group, urging all actors to commit to improving safety and security standards in all aspects of cargo packing.

Alfred Gomez – Director of Marine Standards and Designated Person Ashore, Seaspan

Alfred spent 25 years at sea and 14 years as a sailing Master mainly on large container ships. He has been at Seaspan for 20 years, having sailed as a Master, Auditor, Training Manager & presently DPA / CSO – Director Marine Standards. Seaspan owns and operates 119 large container ships and has a new building program of 55 LNG-fueled container ships. Alfred is also on the board of the ‘Container Ship Safety Forum’, working group of NE P&I club & and the expert group on container ship fires

Danny Harwood – Deputy Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, UK government’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB)

Danny joined the Branch in 2007, having served 24 years as a marine engineering officer in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service. He is responsible for the management of the operational and technical arms of the MAIB and for the conduct of investigations into marine casualties and marine incidents that fall within MAIB’s remit. He is a chartered member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and also has responsibility for the maintenance of the MAIB’s safety management system and the delivery of accident site safety. During his 13 years with the Branch, he has led or managed investigations into the causes and circumstances of machinery failures, ship fires and explosions, vessel groundings, collisions and capsizes, and occupational injuries and fatalities. He has also represented MAIB’s interests at the European Maritime Safety Agency, the International Maritime Organisation and a wide range of national and international maritime working groups.

Nick Chubb – Managing Director, Thetius

Nick Chubb is the Managing Director of Thetius, an organisation dedicated to enabling innovation in the maritime industry through a combination of research, advisory, and talent services. Nick started his career as a navigator on commercial ships before moving into maritime technology. Since moving ashore he has worked in technology in and out of the maritime industry and has held senior commercial positions overseeing the launch of digital products and services in a number of organisations including Marine Society and Intelligent Cargo Systems.


Nicola Good – Head of External Relations at Lloyd’s Register

Nicola has worked in the maritime industry for more than two decades. Until November 2018, she was journalism director at IHS Markit, a leading global provider of maritime data, analysis and consulting and the executive editor of Fairplay. Prior to joining IHSM, Nicola was a long-standing member of the Lloyd’s List editorial team and responsible for a number of flagship product launches and was the custodian of the Top 100 listing. She was named Seahorse International Editor of the Year in 2016.

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