The Importance of Regular Realistic Fire and Abandon Ship Drills on Passenger Ships

Preliminary results from the Harmonized Verification Programme (HAVEP) on passenger ships, carried out between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2013 in the Paris MoU region highlight the importance of regular realistic fire and abandon ship drills on passenger ships.

2014.03.27 - The Importance of Regular Realistic Fire and Abandon Ship Drills on Passenger Ships

Two passenger ships were detained over the 12 month period as a direct result of the HAVEP for deficiencies related to operation control and emergency preparedness. Whilst the results of the HAVEP indicate reasonable overall compliance with SOLAS requirements for passenger ships, both from an operational point of view and hardware, it should be noted that in 19 out of 232 inspections (8.19%) a deficiency was recorded against a fire drill and in 20 inspections (8.62%) a deficiency was recorded against an abandon ship drill.

The objective of the HAVEP was to obtain a view of emergency preparedness on passenger ships following the Costa Concordia incident in January 2012.

“The two main areas of concern on a passenger ship are fire and flooding and if the situation escalates out of control the ship must be able to be safely abandoned. The results of the HAVEP indicate that masters and operators must pay attention to carrying out regular realistic fire and abandon ship drills, says Patrick Dolby, head of the Inspection Operations Branch of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCGA) and leader of the Paris MoU Task Force with regard to the HAVEP.

The HAVEP questionnaire was completed during 232 inspections on 225 individual ships. A total of 130 HAVEP-related deficiencies were recorded and 2 ships were detained as a direct result of the HAVEP. Analysis of the recorded deficiencies shows that most deficiencies relate to abandon ship drills (8.62%), conducting fire drills (8.19%), closing devices/watertight doors (7.76%) and SAR co-operation plan for passenger ships (7.76%). Other deficiencies relate to the fire control plan (5.17%), evaluation of crew performance (training fire drills) (4.74%) and the muster list (4.31%).

Most inspections were carried out on ships under the flags of Bahamas with 67 inspections, Malta with 40 inspections and Turkey with 24 inspections. The flags with HAVEP-topic related detentions were Bahamas (1 detention) and Malta (1 detention). The detailed results of the campaign will be further analysed and findings will be presented to the 47th meeting of the Port State Control Committee in May 2014, after which the report will be submitted to the International Maritime Organization.

Source: Paris MoU

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