1. A concentrated inspection campaign (CIC) on Fire Safety will be initiated jointly by the member Authorities of the Tokyo and Paris Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control.
2. The inspection campaign will be held for three (3) months, commencing from 1st September 2023 and ending on 30th November 2023.
3. The purpose of the CIC is:
a. To create awareness among the ship’s crew and owners about the importance of fire safety measures; and
b. To verify that the ship complies with fire safety requirements under the relevant IMO instruments.
4. Port State Control officer shall be using a questionnaire to assess that fire-fighting systems and equipment comply with the relevant requirements, that the master and crew members are familiar with operations relating to fire safety, and that equipment is properly maintained and functioning.
5. Deficiencies found during the inspection will be recorded by the PSC officer and actions may vary from recording a deficiency and instructing the master to rectify it within a certain period of time, to detaining the ship until serious deficiencies have been rectified.
6. Accordingly Owners and managers of the Shipping Companies are advised that the ship’s Masters are communicated to ensure that fire-fighting systems onboard comply with the relevant requirements and that crew members are familiar with operations relating to fire safety.
7. Following guidance is provided in respect of the CIC questionnaire form:
i. Are the emergency escape routes maintained in a safe condition?
a. Ensure that escape routes are clearly marked, clear of obstacles and easily accessible.
b. An escape route sign is to be always a symbol with an arrow. The text ‘assembly station’, or ‘exit’ may be used additionally, in any language or multiple languages. An arrow without a symbol is not an escape sign.
c. Securing devices of emergency exit hatches to open deck, are operational and of a type to be opened from both sides.
d. The main and emergency lighting is operational.
e. Crew are familiar with the emergency routes.
ii. Are the fire doors maintained in good working condition?
a. Ensure all fire door control panel indicators, if provided, are functional by operating the lamp/indicator switch.
b. Test all fire doors located in main vertical zone bulkheads for local operation.
c. Ensure that self closing fire doors are not secured with hold-back hooks or ropes to keep them in open position.
d. Ensure the doors are closing properly, sealing arrangement is good and that the door handle and locking arrangements are not loose.
e. The access from machinery space to space containing emergency fire pump (e.g. steering room) is to be by means of an airlock with the door of the machinery space being of “A-60” class standard, and the other door being at least steel, both reasonably gastight, self-closing and without any hold-back arrangements.
iii. Has the fixed fire detection and fire alarm systems, been periodically tested in accordance with the requirements of the Administration?
a. Ensure that all fire detection and fire alarm control panel indicators are functional by operating the lamp/indicator test switch.
b. Ensure that the maintenance and test records for the Fire Detection and Alarm Systems are available.
c. SMS / PMS includes testing procedure for fixed fire detection systems and alarms
iv. Are ventilation closing appliances capable of being closed?
a. Ensure satisfactory condition and proper operation of ventilation closing appliances.
b. Ensure that the operation of ventilation closing appliances is not obstructed by equipment, stores or cargo.
c. Ensure that the ventilation closing appliances are permanently marked for the space it is serving with indication for open or closed position.
d. Where a battery room ventilator is fitted with a closing device, ensure appropriate warning notice is displayed near the closing device to mitigate the possibility of inadvertent closing (for example “This closing device is to be kept open and only closed in the event of fire or other emergency – Explosive gas”).
v. Are the means of control for power ventilation of machinery spaces operable from two grouped positions?
a. Check that means of control for power ventilation is provided for stopping ventilating fans. b. Check that power ventilation of machinery spaces is operable from two grouped positions, one of which shall be outside of such spaces.
c. Check that the means provided for stopping the power ventilation of the machinery spaces are entirely separate from ventilation of other spaces.
d. Check operational status of control for power ventilation of machinery spaces. Both position systems to be checked.
vi. Can each fire pump deliver at least the two required jets of water?
a. Ensure that each fire pump delivers at least the two required jets of water at adequate pressure.
b. Check that the capacity of the required designated fire pumps has not been degraded over time. This can be done by checking the pressure produced at the pump under working conditions. Further, during fire drills, check the water jet availability with one hose on the bridge and one hose at the forecastle deck.
c. Ensure that the piping system supporting fire pumps do not have any leakages / soft patches.
d. Ensure priming arrangements for both Main and Emergency fire pumps and all gauges are in good working condition.
vii. Are the means of control provided in a position outside the machinery space for stopping ventilation and oil transfer equipment operational?
a. Ensure the means of controls are accessible, not blocked and are ready for use.
b. Carry out a function test of the remote means of control for stopping ventilation and oil transfer equipment.
viii. Is the room for the fixed gas fire extinguishing medium used only for this purpose?
a. Ensure that the fixed gas fire extinguishing medium storage room is not used for other purposes.
b. Check access control in the fixed gas extinguishing room.
c. Ensure operational step by step activation guidance is posted next to activation control panel.
ix. Are the valves used in the fire main line operational?
a. Ensure the isolating valve(s) are in good working condition and holding.
b. Fire Main Isolation valve(s) is/are clearly marked.
c. Verify that hydrant valves are in good working condition. With the fire main line pressurized, there should be no leakage from the hydrant once the valve is completely shut.
d. Check for satisfactory condition of fire main. Special attention is to be given for condition of brackets, supports and areas under securing U-clamps.
x. Where a fire drill was witnessed, was it found to be satisfactory?
a. Ensure drills are undertaken as per drill planner prepared meeting the SOLAS/Flag State requirements and records maintained. Further, in view of the CIC, it is recommended that fire drill be carried out prior arrival ports under Paris and Tokyo MoU.
(Every crew member shall participate in at least one abandon ship drill and one fire drill every month. The drills of the crew shall take place within 24 h of the ship leaving a port if more than 25% of the crew have not participated in abandon ship and fire drills on board that particular ship in the previous month. When a ship enters service for the first time, after modification of a major character or when a new crew is engaged, these drills shall be held before sailing.
On passenger ships, an abandon ship drill and fire drill shall take place weekly. The entire crew need not be involved in every drill, but each crew member must participate in an abandon ship drill and a fire drill each month).
b. Ensure crew members are conversant with their duties / responsibilities as per muster list and can communicate, receive, and carry out instructions efficiently.
c. Ensure that the master is in control of the emergency and the information flow is from one central command location.
8. Further to above, based on analysis of PSC deficiencies, attention is to be paid to following additional items:
This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person. While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority.