Cablegate: International Maritime Organization (Imo): Report of The

DE RUEHLO #0660/01 0521347
R 211347Z FEB 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. SUMMARY: The 51st session of the IMO FP S/C met at the Royal
Horticultural Halls in London 5-9 January 2007, chaired by Mr. Juan
Carlos Cubisino (Argentina). The session was attended by
delegations from 43 member states, one associate member, one state
not a member, one intergovernmental organization, and observers from
14 non-governmental organizations in consultative status.
Significant accomplishments were:
A. Approval, for submission to MSC 83, of amendments to SOLAS
regulation II-2/10 to require two separate releasing controls for
CO2 fire-extinguishing systems on ships built before 1994, by
completion of the first drydocking after 1 July 2009;
B. Agreement in principle to revisions proposed by the EPA to the
toxicity criteria for equivalent fixed gas fire-extinguishing
systems, pending final consideration at FP 52;
C. Completion of guidelines for approval of fixed pressure
water-spraying and water-based fire extinguishing systems for
passenger cabin balconies;
D. Completion of a revised recommendation on evacuation analysis
for new and existing passenger ships;

E. Development, after extensive debate, of a justification for a
new work program item on "Measures to prevent explosions on oil and
chemical tankers carrying low flash-point cargoes", taking into
account both benefits and disadvantages of inert gas systems for
tankers under 20000 DWT, for submission to MSC 83;
F. Development, following a US proposal, of a draft unified
interpretation on number and arrangement of portable fire
extinguishers, for finalization at FP 52; and
G. Agreement in principle with a US proposal for ship-specific risk
assessments as a basis for development of appropriate fire
protection measures for external areas on passenger ships, with work
to be continued intersessionally by a correspondence group under
coordination of Italy. END SUMMARY.

2. Performance testing and approval standards for fire safety
systems. Following work at earlier sessions and by an
intersessional correspondence group (CG) under coordination of the
U.S., a working group (WG) chaired by the U.S. on performance
testing and approval standards for fire safety systems completed
development, for submission to MSC 83 for approval, of guidelines
for approval of cabin balcony sprinkler and fire detection and alarm
systems as directed by the Maritime Safety Committee pursuant to the
2006 STAR PRINCESS fire. The S/C agreed that such systems installed
prior to 1 July 1998 should be to the satisfaction of the
Administration. The WG continued development of test standards for
high expansion foam systems using inside air, fixed aerosol
extinguishing systems, and fire extinguishing systems for Ro-Ro
spaces. Pursuant to development of amendments to SOLAS to require
two separate releasing controls for CO2 fire-extinguishing systems
on ships built before 1994, the WG developed a justification for
submission to MSC 83 for a new work program item to address an
extended review of safety matters relating to the installation of
total flooding carbon dioxide systems, including system discharge
control arrangements and criteria for lighting and marking of the
means of escape from the protected space. The U.S. will coordinate
a re-established correspondence group (CG) to continue progress
intersessionally in advance of the next meeting.

3. Comprehensive review of the Fire Test Procedures (FTP) Code. A
WG on comprehensive review of the FTP Code developed numerous
editorial and technical improvements to the Code, taking into
account the report of an intersessional correspondence group
established at the last session. The group agreed in part with IACS
unified interpretation FTP 3, concerning testing of large fire
doors; however, it was unable to agree on the provisions concerning
approval of doors larger than those tested. The group agreed that
related ISO standards should be incorporated by reference into the
revised Code to make it more user-friendly. In particular, the
revised Code should refer to the relevant ISO standard for
specification of a test apparatus and its calibration method, but
specifications for test specimens, including conditioning
procedures, test procedures, method of analysis/evaluation of test
results and performance criteria, should be specified in the revised
Code. Finally, the group decided that it was not necessary for
mastics and sealants to have low flame spread characteristics
provided they are not component parts of "A" or "B" class divisions.
Japan will coordinate a re-established CG to continue progress
intersessionally in advance of the next session, where the WG
anticipated that it would complete its work.

4. Recommendation on evacuation analysis for new and existing
passenger ships. A WG on revision of the interim recommendation on
evacuation analysis for new and existing passenger ships considered
the report of an intersessional CG, and agreed on improvements to
existing MSC Circular 1033 for submission to MSC 83 for approval.
The new guidance reflects experience gained to date with the
methodology, and takes into account the latest technical advances in

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the area, including computer simulation of evacuation times, and
revised criteria for passenger awareness times and response time
distributions. The S/C did not accept proposals that the guidelines
be made mandatory, considering that validation against full-scale
tests is needed before any consideration of mandatory application.

5. Measures to prevent fires in engine rooms and cargo pump rooms.
On the basis of the work of an intersessional CG, the S/C continued
development of a draft MSC Circular to provide guidance on, inter
alia, isolating potential oil leakage points from hot surfaces and
other potential sources of ignition in machinery spaces. The CG was
re-established under coordination of Korea to continue work on the
matter intersessionally, and also to consider matters related to
fixed hydrocarbon gas detection systems on double hull oil tankers,
with a view to completing its work at the next session.

6. Consideration of IACS unified interpretations. The S/C
considered ten unified interpretations submitted by IACS, and
prepared three draft MSC Circulars containing agreed interpretations
of SOLAS Chapter II-2, the IBC Code, and the FSS Code for submission
to MSC 83 for approval.

7. Analysis of fire casualty records. The S/C considered
proposals that inert gas systems (IGS) be required on tankers of
less than 20000 DWT, based on the report to MSC 81 of an
Inter-Industry Working Group (IIWG), with a view to providing
recommendations to MSC 83. While noting the views of several
delegations and observers that IGS would reduce the risk of
explosion and should be required, the S/C also noted the value of
operational measures, taking into account that the most significant
contributory factor to the casualties studied by the IIWG was a
failure to follow or understand cargo operation guidelines and
procedures. After lengthy discussion, and recognizing the need to
consider both benefits and disadvantages of IGS and other measures
in depth, the S/C developed a justification for inclusion in the S/C
work program of a new item on "Measures to prevent explosions on oil
and chemical tankers transporting low-flash point cargoes", for
submission to MSC 83.

8. Fire resistance of ventilation ducts. In its discussion of a UK
proposal for strengthening the requirements for ventilation ducts,
the S/C considered additional proposals that the scope of the work
be expanded to address all ventilation system requirements. The S/C
decided that this would require further approval by the MSC, and
instead referred the matter to the correspondence group on
Comprehensive review of the FTP Code, with a view to further
consideration at FP 52.

9. Unified interpretation on the number and arrangement of portable
extinguishers in accommodation spaces, service spaces, control
stations, etc. This new work item was proposed by China at MSC 81
to clarify the number and arrangement of portable fire extinguishers
in various shipboard spaces. After consideration of proposals by
China and the U.S., and additional information provided by Japan,
the S/C prepared a consolidated draft guideline, consistent with the
risk-based U.S. proposal, for further consideration and finalization
at FP 52.

10. Review of the fire safety of external areas on passenger ships.
This item stems from a UK proposal at MSC 81, pursuant to the 2006
STAR PRINCESS fire, to address fire safety of external areas other
than passenger cabin balconies. There was general support for a
risk-based approach as proposed by the U.S., to develop suitable
measures based on different categories of external areas and
ship-specific risk assessments. The S/C established a CG under
coordination of Italy to progress the work intersessionally.

11. Election of chairman/date of next meeting. The S/C unanimously
elected Mr. J. C. Cubisino as Chairman, and Mr. C. Abbate (Italy) as
Vice-Chairman for 2008. The 52nd session of the S/C is tentatively
scheduled for 14-18 January 2008 in London.


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