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Maersk implements dangerous goods stowage guidelines

After examining all the details in connection with Maersk Honam tragic fire accident despite meeting out the requirements of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, Maersk, after all out efforts to understand the dangerous cargo stowage has completed implementation of new guidelines that aims at improving safety across its container vessel fleet.

Maersk actually evaluated more than 3,000 United Nations numbers of hazardous materials to arrive at the new set of principles on risk-based dangerous goods stowage, the company has said. 

 “All cargo aboard Maersk Honam was accepted as per the requirements of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code and stowed onboard the vessel accordingly. Despite this, as the fire originated in a cargo hold in front of the accommodation which held several containers with dangerous goods, it had an unbearably tragic outcome,” said Ole Graa Jakobsen, head of fleet technology at Maersk.
   “This clearly showed us that the international regulations and practices with regard to dangerous goods stowage needed to be reviewed in order to optimally protect crew, cargo, environment and vessels,”Jakobsen said. 

 The Maersk Honam crew managed to release the ship’s CO2 system into the cargo hold, but that did not stop the fire. Maersk Honam was carrying dangerous goods in the cargo hold where the fire originated; however, at this time there is no evidence to suggest that dangerous goods caused the fire, the company said. 

Five crew members died as a result of the fire.  

 Maersk said cargo covered under the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code will no longer be stowed next to accommodations and the main propulsion plant, which is defined as the zone with the lowest risk tolerance. Similarly, risk tolerance will be low below deck and in the middle of the vessel, whereas the risk tolerance will be higher on deck fore and aft. Utilizing statistics on container fires in the Cargo Incident Notification System, Maersk defined which U.N. numbers can be stored in each risk zone.
   Maersk will continue to review its rules and policies for accepting dangerous goods.
  “We aim for long term improvements by reviewing our systems and then designing an end-to-end process that is safe for our seafarers and smooth for our customers,”Jakobsen said. 

 In the coming months, a review aimed at creating best management practices for dangerous goods stowage will be undertaken with participation from ABS, Lloyds Register, the International Group of PandI Clubs, National Cargo Bureau, the TT Club and Exis Technologies. Once the project is completed, the best practices will be published and presented to the International Maritime Organization.

 

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