GUIDANCE NOTES ON FIRE-FIGHTING SYSTEMS
The ABS Rules incorporate many requirements intended to prevent the onset of a fire. However,even with all the preventative measures taken, shipboard fires still occur. Therefore, the proper design, installation and operation of the vessel’s fire-fighting systems are critical to the safety of avessel and the personnel onboard.Since fire-fighting systems are so critical, the designs and arrangements of such systems should becarefully evaluated for compliance with the ABS requirements by the designer and ABS Engineeringstaffs. These Guidance Notes have been developed to assist in a better understanding of the ABSrequirements for such systems. They are intended to provide a general overview of ABSrequirements that should be considered during technical plan review activities. These Guidance Notesalso examine the basic scientific fundamentals of fire, as appropriate for a proper understanding andapplication of the ABS requirements. Accordingly, this document should be considered as generalguidance only and the technical reviews of fire-fighting systems should verify compliance with allABS Rules applicable to the specific vessel involved.
Rule references in these Guidance Notes (e.g. 4-7-2/1.1.1, etc.) are typically to the requirements found in the ABS
Rules for Building and Classing Steel Vessels
, unless noted otherwise.
The scope of this document is limited to the review of ABS requirements considered during thetechnical plan review of active fire-fighting systems onboard ABS-classed vessels. Passive fire protection arrangements, such as structural fire protection, as well as fire detection systems, areoutside the scope of this document. Fire-fighting systems of offshore facilities and installations arealso outside the scope of this document.The review of fire-fighting systems for the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s)International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requirements is also not within thescope of this document. However, in many cases, the ABS Rules for fire-fighting systems either incorporate or directly reference IMO SOLAS fire-fighting system requirements. Accordingly, withinthe discussions of the ABS requirements for various fire-fighting systems, related “interpretations” of the associated SOLAS requirements, as developed by the International Association of ClassificationSocieties (IACS), are identified. These IACS interpretations are called Unified Interpretations (UI).As an IACS member, The Bureau (ABS) is obligated to apply these UIs as appropriate interpretationsof the SOLAS requirements, unless directed otherwise by the Flag Administration. Interpretations provided in the UIs should be considered when conducting technical plan reviews.
Development of appropriate Unified Interpretations and revision of existing UIs is an ongoing effort within theIACS Working Parties. Therefore, attention is directed to the latest edition of the IACS UI being available on thewebsite http://www.iacs.org.uk/index1.htm.
In addition to the IACS UIs, IMO MSC Circular 847, “Interpretations of Vague Expressions and other Vague Wording in SOLAS Consolidated Edition 1997 Chapter II-2,” also provides guidanceregarding SOLAS fire-fighting system requirements. Many of the MSC Circular 847 interpretationsare based upon the IACS UI interpretations, while others provide revised or additional interpretationsof the SOLAS requirements. A number of the MSC Circular 847 interpretations have been includedin the SOLAS 2000 consolidated edition. Consequently, these requirements were also incorporatedinto the ABS Rules. However, since the MSC Circular 847 interpretations identify useful informationand guidance relative to certain Rule requirements, “selected” IMO MSC Circular 847 interpretationshave also been identified.