THE INTERNATIONAL Maritime Organization’s Formal Safety Assessment Experts Group met this week to review the outcome of a Formal Safety Assessment (FSA) study called Cagosafe, which was commissioned by the European Maritime Safety Agency.

The study examines the risks associated with fires in cargo spaces on container ships and evaluates measures to control these risks in terms of prevention, detection, firefighting, and containment.

The study follows the FSA structure for use in IMO rule-making process, based on the Revised guidelines for Formal Safety Assessment (FSA) for use in the IMO rule-making process.

The experts on the committee have been evaluating whether the study was conducted in accordance with the FSA guidelines.

A report from the group will be submitted to the Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment, which meets for its 10th session from 4 to 8 March next year.

The work on container ship fires follows a number of incidents involving fires on container ships, and subsequent submissions to IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), proposing a new agenda item on this matter.

Formal Safety Assessment is a structured and systematic methodology, aimed at enhancing maritime safety, including protection of life, health, the marine environment and property, by using risk analysis and cost benefit assessment.

FSA can be used as a tool to help in the evaluation of new regulations for maritime safety and protection of the marine environment or in making a comparison between existing and possibly improved regulations, with a view to achieving a balance between the various technical and operational issues, including the human element, and between maritime safety or protection of the marine environment and costs.

Approximately 25 experts attended the FSA Experts Group meeting at the IMO’s London headquarters. The meeting chaired by Koichi Yoshida (Japan), with Therese Christensen (Denmark) serving as the vice-chair.