June 27, 2024

Evaluating Marine Safety: Analysis of Fire Safety Compliance Before and After the Paris MoU’s 2023 Inspection Campaign

The Paris Memorandum of Understanding (Paris MoU) on Port State Control conducts annual Concentrated Inspection Campaigns (CIC) to address and mitigate risks of non-compliance within maritime operations. These campaigns focus on areas previously identified as deficient or incident-prone, or which are subject to new regulatory requirements and safety regulations as implied by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). For instance, recent campaigns have targeted the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) and the Polar Code in 2022, and General Stability in 2021. This proactive approach reflects an ongoing commitment to addressing evolving maritime safety challenges.

In 2023, the CIC focused on Fire Safety, in collaboration with the Tokyo MoU. This campaign highlighted a generally robust compliance landscape within the maritime industry, though it also pinpointed critical areas needing improvement. Throughout this campaign, adherence to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the International Code for Fire Safety Systems was closely examined, resulting in a detention rate of 3.9%. Key issues identified included the maintenance of fire doors and the execution of fire drills, indicating specific vulnerabilities in fire safety protocols. While the overall satisfactory compliance rates suggest that prior notification of the campaign had a positive impact on industry preparedness, the findings emphasise the necessity for continuous vigilance and targeted enhancements in fire fighting systems (see the Appendix for specific deficiency codes).


Image 1. Trends in CIC-related detainable deficiencies out of all CIC-related defects - Kpler.


Image 2. Correlation Between CIC-related deficiencies and detainable deficiencies out of all defects - Kpler.

Data from March 2023 to May 2024 reveals significant variations in the number of CIC deficiencies and detainable deficiencies. Analysis of this data shows that while the proportion of CIC deficiencies relative to total deficiencies remained relatively stable, around 10-12%, the rate of CIC detainable deficiencies exhibited more fluctuation. Notably, there was a peak in detainable deficiencies in the latter half of 2023, particularly around September, indicating either heightened scrutiny or increased awareness and reporting of fire protection systems non-compliances during this period. However, the overall trend indicates a decline in detainable deficiencies towards the end of the observed period, suggesting that maritime operators have improved their compliance and rectification measures in response to the intensified inspections during the campaign.

Enhanced scrutiny and improved compliance measures directly impact the reliability and safety of shipping routes, thus influencing operational costs and scheduling. Understanding these trends helps in anticipating potential delays and in making informed decisions about risk management and contingency planning. Recognising the patterns of deficiencies can also guide the development of more robust safety protocols, ultimately contributing to more efficient and secure maritime operations. In conclusion, the findings from the 2023 Fire Safety CIC and subsequent data analysis underscore the importance of ongoing vigilance and continuous improvement in maritime safety protocols. While the industry has shown a commendable level of preparedness and compliance, particularly with advance notice of inspections, specific vulnerabilities in fire safety practices highlight areas where further efforts are required. The observed decline in detainable deficiencies towards the end of the period indicates positive progress, yet it is crucial to sustain these efforts to ensure continued safety and compliance in maritime operations.


Deficiency codes:

  • 4103 - Emergency, lighting, batteries and switches
  • 4109 - Fire drills
  • 7105 - Fire doors / openings in fire-resisting divisions
  • 7106 - Fire detection and alarm system
  • 7109 - Fixed fire extinguishing installation
  • 7110 - Fire fighting equipment and appliances
  • 7113 - Fire pumps and its pipes
  • 7114 - Remote Means of control (opening, pumps, ventilation, etc.) Machinery spaces
  • 7116 - Ventilation
  • 7120 - Means of escape
  • 7125 - Evaluation of crew performance (fire drills)

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