A DNV study from 2018 re: “Fires on RoRo decks” covers fires on both RoPax and Vehicle Carriers.:
FIRES ON RO-RO DECKS - MaritimeCyprus
It mention water mist system as an alternative system recently developed:
This has the advantages of causing less damages and risk of capsizing (Refr. al-Salam Boccaccio 98 fire & capsize) since less water is used.
Chapter 5 has refr. IMO rules for EVs:
I have no first hand experience with EVs, or their transport requirement, but it looks like it is getting a bit more attention than earlier, which is good since there will be a lot more such vehicles on the road (and transported on ferries and ships) in the future.
The problem, Jurgen, is that Lithium-Ion batteries supply their own oxygen when burning, which VERY HIGHLY complicates extinguishing them. In the case of the Felicity Ace, while the origin of the fire is unknown, the Lithium batteries are positively identified as a major problem in putting the fire out.
One has to assume that the onboard fire suppression system was triggered without effect, inducing the crew to abandon ship in the lifeboat.
Yes the rules for the carriage of EVs seem to be lagging.
A lot of vessels will be carrying EVs when they have no way of extinguishing a Lithium-Ion battery fire.
Safety rules in the marine industry are often applied reactively and not proactively, so it will probably take a tragic accident for rules to come in to mitigate the risks of EV fires on ferries.
A ferry will will have an EV fire that they can’t extinguish and people will die, then they will bring in rules to prevent it happening again instead of bring in rules to prevent it happening in the first place.
A water mist system is a fire protection system which uses very fine water sprays (i.e. water mist). The small water droplets allow the water mist to control, suppress or extinguish fires by:cooling both the flame and surrounding gases by evaporation. displacing oxygen by evaporation .
It is an interesting, if expensive, experiment that is being conducted on board that vessel. This is to my knowledge the largest mass of lithium-ion battery material that has ever ignited. If I were a harbormaster I would not allow that ship in my port until it had been instrumented and demonstrated that it had sat outside stone cold and with all batteries fully discharged for at least two weeks and preferably a month. And even then I would be very hesitant to go on board or order somebody else to do so.
They are possibly seeing temperatures in exess of 1000 deg C inside the hold. Maybe this will affect the ship’s structure in a way that will lead to the problem solving itself. Another option, probably politically infeasible, would be to inquire if any navy in the area would care to expend a torpedo in a live-fire exercise.