The importance of electric vehicle fire blankets for ferry operators lies in the fact that it is crucial to isolate any potential fire and smoke and prevent the fire spreading to other vehicles parked on the car deck quickly and efficiently.
Since many ferries also carry passengers, it is even more important that the risks posed by potential EV fires are mitigated since any incident could cause panic and, ultimately, endanger the lives of everyone on board. The health & safety of passengers and crew is of paramount importance to every ferry operator.
This is why an electric vehicle fire blanket should be readily available on every car deck on both passengers and cargo ships.
Guidance on the Carriage of AFVs in Ro-Ro Spaces
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) recently published a report on the Guidance on the Carriage of Alternative-Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) in Ro-Ro Spaces. It highlighted the potential fire risk posed by these types of vehicles – which includes electric and hybrid vehicles – and stated that there is a “high uncertainty on the associated fire characteristics”.
EMSA went on to state that a risk assessment should be conducted for each ship to ensure that the risks arising from the carriage of AFVs that might affect persons on board are fully explored and suitable measures are put in place.
Since electric vehicle fires are difficult to stop and extinguish when they start, the focus must be for ferry operators to prevent fire or suppress it effectively if smoke is observed coming from an EV. This smoke, and often heat, will be emitted from parts of the vehicle where the battery is normally located.
Another sign that an EV fire might be about to start is if popping sounds are heard to be coming from the battery cells. This is a key signal that the phenomenon of thermal runaway is in progress. This means that the battery array has been compromised and there is an immediate risk of fire and explosion.
Reignition is an issue to consider
It is also worth noting that AFVs have a long-lasting reignition risk. An EV that has been on fire can reignite any time up to two months since the original fire has been extinguished.
Increasing number of AFVs means increased risk
As the number of AFVs on our roads increases, so does the propensity that both passenger and cargo ships will need to transport such vehicles over the coming months and year. And more of these types of vehicles on ships and ferries means that the dangers posed by EV fires must not be underestimated or ignored.
Here at Prosol UK, we were pleased to read that EMSA’s ‘Guidance on the Carriage of Alternative-Fuel Vehicles in Ro-Ro Spaces’ report mentioned fire blankets as a way of using ‘manual activity’ during fire suppression. As such, we would urge every ferry operator to consider the inclusion of our specifically developed ‘Fire Cloak’ Electric Vehicle Fire Blankets on every car desk to mitigate risk and provide peace of mind.