Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2023

128 FEATURE 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.