Höegh Autoliners take proactive measures to reduce the risk of fire

DATE 14.09.2023

“Together with a clear decarbonisation target, safety is our top priority both on our existing fleet and when designing our new Aurora class vessels. Fire safety has been a focus area and part of the design work from day one,” says the COO of Höegh Autoliners, Sebjørn Dahl.

Identifying Fire Triggers
Recent fire incidents aboard EV-carrying vessels have brought attention to factors such as thermal runaway, saltwater intrusion, and compromised battery cells or components. Industry stakeholders, insurers, and safety experts have underscored the need for vigilance.

What we do to mitigate risk

At Höegh Autoliners we focus both on pre-emptive measures and emergency plans to help mitigate danger. To improve fire detection and the ability to handle a possible fire we have among other measures implemented an extended number of fire zones, and installed heat and smoke detecting cameras and fire blanket stations on all cargo decks. We have more than the Class required amount of CO2, which serves as a highly efficient fire extinguisher on board our vessels.

“We've also improved the onboard digital platform. This enables us to include early warning if any loaded unit would send out notification of anomalies such as elevated battery temperatures,” says Dahl.

Compliance and Safety procedures

We are currently not accepting transportation of second-hand Electric Vehicles as they may represent higher risk. Höegh Autoliners have a close collaboration with DNV which enables us to be up to date and informed on the latest research and data on fire safety.

Prior to loading, our fire risk management includes optimized procedures. Specifically, we aim to maintain high-voltage batteries in electronic and hybrid cars charged ideally below 30 percent and not above 50 percent, effectively mitigating the risk of fire incidents. This deliberate approach curtails energy density on the vessel's deck, thereby reducing the potential severity of fires.

Experienced personnel

Secure and safe transportation of cargo to its destination is a key priority for us at Höegh Autoliners. Our cargo handling personnel are well trained and competent to take care of the cargo we carry on board our vessels. We have developed procedures and best practices for cargo handling, to minimise the risk of damage, and are continuously improving our operations so that we can provide the best possible service to our customers at all times. Höegh Autoliners follow best practices in the industry, which reflect years of hands-on experience. Our crew are undergoing regular refresher training on fire safety and firefighting techniques. In cooperation with local training centres we are focusing on hands-on fire-fighting techniques as well as safety procedures for high temperature fires. We conduct regular drills so that the crew are very familiar with their duties, location of equipment and use of the onboard equipment and systems. This will ensure that the crew have the capabilities to apply the correct firefighting method depending on the situation.

Fire incidents can be life-threatening, lead to environmental impacts and cause great damage on the vessels. Therefore, fire safety is among our top priorities at Höegh Autoliners.

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