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Project partners from 13 EU Member States investigate cost-efficient measures to mitigate the risk from ro-ro space fires. The European Commission invests M€ 12 to solve this international maritime fire safety challenge.

Comprehensive consortium to update fire legislation

The project LASH FIRE (Legislative Assessment for Safety Hazards of Fire and Innovations in Ro-ro ship Environment) aims to develop maritime fire safety solutions with innovative technologies, operations and applications. The consortium is coordinated by RISE Research Institutes of Sweden and comprises 26 partners from 13 Member States of the European Union, including industry partners, research institutes, universities, regulatory bodies, trade associations and experts in communication and external relations. LASH FIRE will provide a basis for the revision of international maritime regulations and gives European industry knowledge to build safer and more competitive ships for sustainable transport. The European Commission, via its research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, invests 12.2 million euro in LASH FIRE over 4 years, starting in September 2019.

Critical aspects addressed by innovative solutions

Fire incidents on ro-ro ships have serious consequences for crew and passengers, as well as for the ship and its cargo. A large number of significant ro-ro ship fires in recent years, and lacking signs of such diminishing, call for better prevention and management of fires. The LASH FIRE consortium aims to develop and demonstrate new procedures and technical innovations that enhance ro-ro ship fire safety, accounting for current and future challenges. The objectives and technical content of the project are based on critical aspects pointed out by a European group of experts assembled by the European Maritime Safety Agency, the ongoing reformation of international regulations within the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and on significant experience collected from ro-ro ship operators. This implies a large potential for the project to make an impact, in its use of new and advancing technologies and procedures, which will be assessed for feasibility, performance validation and demonstration with help of the involved ship operators and yards.

Risk reduction and cost assessment basis for rulemaking

The risk reduction provided by the developed solutions will be balanced against effects on the environment, cost and crew operations to ensure that the fire protection of ro-ro ships is robustly enhanced from a sustainable, practical and long-term perspective.

Franz Evegren from RISE, project coordinator of LASH FIRE, states: “Within this 4-year project, we will develop cost-effective solutions that mitigate the risk of fires initiated in ro-ro spaces of all types of ro-ro ships. In the decade between 2006 and 2015, we for example saw 32 serious ro-ro space fires on ro-pax ships. LASH FIRE will significantly reduce the occurrence of fires on ro-pax ships, general ro-ro cargo ships and PCTCs; we will increase the proportion of fires detected and controlled at an early stage, and we will improve the independent fire management capabilities on board. This will reduce the significant cost of these fires to society, not least the number of fatalities which is expected to be reduced to about half. Solutions developed in the project will lead to regulatory proposals, assessed and validated according to the IMO Formal Safety Assessment methodology. If adopted, the time-to-market will be short, given that the whole value-chain is involved in the project.”

LASH FIRE has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 814975.

Contact person: Maria Hjohlman maria.hjohlman@ri.se, +46 (0)10 516 5199