Safety at sea: the solutions protecting passengers and crew

CFR outlines the services, solutions and initiatives designed to help ship operators mitigate risk

Safety at sea: the solutions protecting passengers and crew
A variety of solutions and initiatives are aiming to reduce risk to passengers and crew

By Richard Humphreys |

Avoiding bad weather at sea  

Navimeteo’s team of expert forecasters use its operational weather centre to provide 24/7 monitoring services and help cruise and ferry lines navigate away from inclement conditions 

To navigate and operate their passenger vessels safely, it is critical for shipowners to understand the weather at sea. Navimeteo is a 24/7 operational weather centre designed to support navigation and maritime activities. The service, which uses modern technologies and systems to provide accurate forecasts, is managed by an expert team of weather forecasters who are skilled in forecasting techniques and have many years of experience.   

Numerous cruise ships around the world and ferry fleets in the Mediterranean are constantly connected with Navimeteo, which helps them to carefully monitor the ever-evolving marine weather conditions and operate safely. 

Learning from maritime emergency experts  

Wightlink partners with the UK’s HM Coastguard on an initiative to improve safety on the Solent 

Wightlink is working with HM Coastguard, the UK’s national maritime emergency service, to improve safety on the Solent, a strait between the Isle of Wight and Great Britain. 

Captain Sam Mitchell (pictured, left), Wightlink’s head of fleet operations, says: “Our bridge teams have unrivalled knowledge of Solent waters and value our close links with the coastguard. We were pleased to welcome them onboard and hope to carry out more joint exercises in future.” 

“These training visits give us valuable insights into commercial ferry operations,” says coastguard commander George Close (pictured, right). “Should there be an incident in the Solent we will work together so it’s important to know each other’s systems and procedures. This builds upon the regular search and rescue exercises we carry out with Wightlink and other ferry operators in the region.” 

Operational gaps targeted for maritime sustainability  

Maritime Technologies Forum provides recommendations on how to accelerate safe maritime decarbonisation 

Maritime Technologies Forum (MTF) has produced a report to highlight the gaps in operational management practices and crew training requirements in association with classification and compliance body Lloyd’s Register. The report also identifies areas where safe maritime decarbonisation can be achieved, with reference to international conventions and codes. 

MFT’s report states that industry stakeholders must collaborate to safely adopt alternative fuels. This involves addressing key issues within three regulations: the International Safety Management Code; Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers; and the Maritime Labour Convention. Identification of hazards and risks, resolving regulatory uncertainties, and earmarking funding from market-based measures are crucial for successful implementation of alternative fuels. Referencing these fuels in international guidelines will ensure compliance at the national level. 

An innovative fire safety solution   

The Marioff HI-FOG water mist system has been approved to protect atrium-type areas 

The Marioff HI-FOG water mist fire protection system can now be used to protect atrium-type spaces with high ceilings onboard passenger ships, after passing fire tests at internationally recognised third-party laboratories and receiving Verband der Sachversicherer approval. 

“High spaces, such as halls, lobbies and reception areas are beautiful focal points that don’t just look great – they tie together the many functions of buildings and are critical for business continuity,” says Francisco García, business development manager at Marioff. “It’s not just the height of these spaces, but also the use of delicate materials and aesthetics that present a challenge for fire protection.” 

The HI-FOG system discharges a fine water mist at high velocity, creating significantly less water damage than traditional fire suppression systems. 

Responding to the electric vehicle firefighting challenge  

Viking Life-Saving Equipment is to distribute Bridgehill’s fire blankets and the Rosenbauer Battery Extinguisher System to maritime customers  

Viking Life-Saving Equipment is partnering with Bridgehill, which develops innovative fire-resistant products, to distribute fire blankets and the Rosenbauer Battery Extinguisher System to maritime customers.  

The agreements particularly focus on fire safety needs arising from the growing number of electric vehicles (EV) moving by ship and the risks involved in that process. “It often takes a long time for a lithium battery to burn out which means it is imperative that it is contained onboard as quickly as possible,” says Louise Søgaard, product manager at Viking. “On a car ferry, it’s crucial to isolate the fire and smoke quickly first, to prevent the fire from spreading in order to keep passengers and crew out of harm’s way.” 

Bridgehill founder Frank Brubakken says: “Our fire blankets are more than fit for marine safety purposes. They can contain an EV fire comfortably until other steps are taken, or the vehicle is removed.” 

The Rosenbauer BEST system has been developed to extinguish high-voltage lithium-ion batteries in EVs, with the firefighter using a piercing stinger attached to a hose to penetrate the battery housing and flood the cells, rather than the deck. Direct cooling stops the chemical reaction in the cells and consequent thermal runaway. 

Numerous cruise ships around the world and ferry fleets in the Mediterranean are constantly connected with Navimeteo, which helps them to carefully monitor the ever-evolving marine weather conditions and operate safely.  

IMO makes safety its World Maritime Theme for 2024  

The maritime body places a special focus on new technologies and alternative fuels as innovation ramps up in the cruise and ferry industry 

‘Navigating the future: safety first!’ is the International Maritime Organization’s 2024 World Maritime Theme, which will conclude with the celebration of World Maritime Day on 26 September 2024. 

The theme reflects IMO’s work to enhance maritime safety and security, in tandem with the protection of the marine environment, whilst ensuring its regulatory development process safely anticipates the fast pace of technological change and innovation. 

“This theme would allow us to focus on the full range of safety regulatory implications arising from new and adapted technologies and the introduction of alternative fuels, including measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships as IMO strives to ensure the safety and efficiency of shipping are maintained, and potentially improved, so that the flow of seaborne international trade continues to be smooth and efficient,” says Kitack Lim, IMO secretary general. 

This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Review for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.

Contact author


Subscribe to the Cruise & Ferry newsletter

  • ©2024 Tudor Rose. All Rights Reserved. Cruise & Ferry is published by Tudor Rose.