FREIGHT transport and logistics insurer TT Club is calling for a better approach to preventing containership fires.

TT Club said it believes regulation and fire-fighting technique improvements have proven inadequate for preventing incidents that cost lives and cause cargo loss and ship damage.

It said it is trying to convince cargo interests, supply chain professionals and enforcement agencies that numerous entities across the global supply chain share the responsibility for mitigating fires.

TT Club risk management director Peregrine Storrs-Fox used a 2012 containership fire as an example.

“There were significant lessons coming from the sad incident on the MSC Flaminia, which cost the lives of three seafarers, particularly from the subsequent legal proceedings that adjudged the shipper and NVOC responsible for root cause errors,” he said.

“Despite the biennial updates to the [International Maritime Dangerous Goods] Code, including multiple arising from this particular incident, the judge’s assessment that the regulations merely set the baseline for good practice remains utterly true today.”

Mr Storrs-Fox said compliance with the latest version of the IMDG Code is a minimum standard for anyone shipping dangerous goods by sea.

He emphasised the statement that regulations only set the baseline.

“This is an important statement to which any entity inclined to rely solely on the letter of the law when consigning dangerous goods, would do very well to pay heed.”

TT Club said errors, misunderstandings, mis-declarations and inadequate packing and securing  are the cause of many incidents at sea and in storage facilities.

As such, it is advocating a comprehensive approach to risk mitigation that involves clarifying the safety responsibilities of everyone involved in the movement of cargo.

TT Club and UK P&I Club (another insurer) recently updated their Book it Right, Pack it Tight guidelines to influence higher standards of compliance.

TT Club said it is also launching a series of webinars early next year about containership fires and efforts to prevent them.

Mr Storrs-Fox said the complexities of the global container trade is increasing rather than diminishing.

“No one entity can surmount the dangers of these horrific fires, as a consequence it is essential that the entirety of the risk faced should be embraced by all involved through the supply chain if they are to be successfully reduced,” he said.