Firefighting on Containerships (FOC)

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As container vessels are designed larger and stack heights continue to rise, fire safety on container vessels continues to be a risk. To address this risk, ABS has published the Guide for Fire-Fighting Systems for Cargo Areas of Container Carriers




Firefighting on Containerships

Addressing the risk of fire on container carriers.  

By applying this enhanced standard, containership owners and operators can help mitigate the fire safety risk. The optional criteria builds on the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations leading to better preparation for potential incidents that threaten the safety of the ship, crew and cargo.

To demonstrate capabilities above and beyond IMO requirements and to help owners navigate risks based on the unique characteristics of container fires, ABS has optional notations addressing the following areas:



The Fire-fighting On-deck Container (FOC) notation provides a comprehensive approach to assessing the firefighting system pressure and capacity, and recognizes enhanced container deck firefighting capability beyond what is required by the IMO. The guide supports enhanced fire- main piping arrangements and increased water supply by outlining requirements for additional equipment and arrangements that improve the vessel’s firefighting capability.

The Fire-fighting On-deck Container – Restricted (FOC-R) notation has similar requirements to the FOC notation, but with modified water capacity criteria making its application practical for container carriers constructed either before January 1, 2016 (designed to carry any number of container tiers on deck) or built after January 1, 2016 (designed to carry four or less tiers of containers on-deck) and that provide on-deck firefighting arrangements that exceed the SOLAS requirements applicable to those vessels

The Fire-fighting On-deck Container Plus (FOC+) and Fire-fighting On-deck Container – Restricted Plus (FOC R+) notations invoke additional requirements addressing the additional protection of the hatch covers.

The Container Carrier House/ Structures (CCH) notation has requirements for water cooling, air monitoring and other arrangements intended to protect crew within the accommodations, service spaces, machinery spaces and other normally manned locations from the heat as well as smoke that may be created during a cargo fire.

The Fire-protection Below-deck Container (FBC) notation recognizes the installation of fire protection arrangements and capabilities within the container holds of container carriers beyond those required by IMO.

The Cargo Hold Flooding (CHF) notation recognizes container carriers that are provided with specific arrangements to flood individual container holds for the purpose of extinguishing a fire in a container hold as a last-resort measure and for the dewatering thereafter. By applying the requirements in the Container Carrier Fire Fighting Guide, owners and operators can demonstrate a commitment to safety and fire protection that supports more secure operations.