The traditional fire safety regulations that apply to ship design have been described as inadequate in two ways: (i) they can impose constraints on novel designs, and (ii) novel designs can have features that do not satisfy the premise of existing rules, thus making approval more difficult.
In order to remedy this problem the FIREPROOF project will develop a very universally applicable regulatory framework for maritime fire safety based on probabilistic models and numerical models of ignition, growth and impact of fires. The framework would be quite similar in principle to the well established probabilistic damage stability regulation.
The objectives of FIREPROOF are:
- enhancement of the fire safety regulations by developing of a probabilistic framework for fire safety;
- presentation of the framework to IMO and the Maritime Safety Committee for future enforcement.
The methodology of the proposed fire safety regulation is summarised as follows. The methodology would consist of a mathematical model that generates instances of fire scenarios according to the correct probability distribution of the elements of the scenario. It would also consist of numerical models to assess the consequence of the scenarios so generated.
For any given ship (traditional or novel) a large number of scenarios are generated and their consequences assessed, and the results are aggregated to give rise to fire risk metrics. Constraints based on such risk metrics serve as statutory regulations that are completely applicable to novel and unprecedented designs. It offers the designer greater freedom on the design, while enforcing a greater level of safety. To remedy this problem, FIREPROOF will develop a universally applicable regulatory framework for maritime fire safety (based on probabilistic analysis and numerical models of ignition, growth and fire impact).
The project will address fire risk of passenger ships only. The consortium is comprised of 13 companies from UK, France, Norway, Germany, Greece, Portugal, India and USA.
The FIREPROOF project contributes to the improvement of knowledge on fire engineering and the enhancement of the existing fire safety regulations.
Enhancement of existing fire safety regulations has been achieved by recommending the relaxation of prescriptive regulation-based constraints on new designs. This is done without reducing safety, while offering new degrees of freedom to designers to address safety cost-effectively for conventional and innovative designs alike.
This approach, in combination with step changes that have taken place in training and procedures, progress in technology of materials and detection/suppression equipment, etc., helps a rapidly evolving industry to sustain high safety levels for the years to come.
The current applicable fire regulations are potentially inadequate as they impose certain constraints on the design of novel ships. The FIREPROOF project recommends relaxation of current prescriptive regulation-based constraints on new designs, combined with new degrees of design freedom in order to develop cost effective designs. This is all done without reducing safety.
Innovating for the future (technology and behaviour): A European Transport Research and Innovation Policy