23 Oct 2017

SOLAS firefighting communication requirements

The Maritime Safety Committee adopted Resolution MSC.338(91) among which, Chapter II-2 “Construction – Fire Protection, Fire Detection and Fire Extinction“ that regulates the firefighting radio equipment on board ships and vessels, on November  30th 2012. In this blog, we want to highlight some critical points mentioned in this resolution, Chapter II-m2 and more precise Regulation 10 “FireFighting”, we will also reflect on a few other points from Chapters I, II & III that influence the need for onboard fire-fighter´s communication equipment in the Regulation 10.10.4.

We will provide an overview of the regulatory requirements as well as the practical end user requirements put into action under this new regulatory requirement.


Background and basic facts about SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea), what do you need to know?

In the SOLAS Chapter II-2, Regulation 10.10.4- Fire fighter´s communication, we can find the following wording:For ships constructed on or after 1 July 2014, a minimum of two two-way portable radiotelephone apparatus for each fire party for fire-fighter´s communication shall be carried on board. Those two two-way radiotelephone apparatus shall be of an explosion-proof type or intrinsically safe. Ships constructed before 1 July 2014, shall comply with the requirements of this paragraph not later than the first survey after 1 July 2018. We will just refer to the “Two-way portable radiotelephone apparatus” as onboard fire-fighting communications sets in the later.


For naval ships built on or after 1 July 2014
Naval ships built as of July 1st 2014 have already implemented the requirement. This new regulatory requirement affects ~2.000 new ships per annum. This allows us to estimate the annual requirement for onboard firefighting communications sets to 6.000-8.000pcs.

For naval ships built before 1 July 2014
The global existing fleet of naval ships built before the 1st of July 2014, is estimated to 89.000 ships out of which some 60.000-65.000 that are now affected by the SOLAS regulation and the regulation 10.10.4 requirements. It is foreseen that shipowners, of ships not affected by the SOLAS regulation, will be implementing the regulation 10.10.4, however there are no reliable numbers available to provide any estimate of this number of naval ships nor the number of onboard firefighting communication sets.

The effective date of the regulation 10.10.4 (1st of July 2018), is approaching and still to-date there is a large number of ships that have not made the mandatory actions and preparations for this new equipment to be available on-ship and in operational use.
No reliable figures are publicly available; however, we estimate that at least 1/3 to 1/2 of the about 300.000 needed onboard firefighting communication sets are yet purchased nor deployed onboard.


So, how many onboard firefighting communication sets do you need?

The number of onboard firefighting communication sets is totally dependent on the type and size of naval ship that you are reviewing. The regulations on this part are stipulating as follows:

As set in Chapter II-2, regulation all ships shall carry at least two firefighter outfits.

As set in Chapter II-2, regulation an additional firefighter’s outfit is required for passenger vessels depending on the design of the passenger vessel / cruise ship; i.e. length of passenger spaces, number of decks, number of vertical zones and number of passengers.

As set in Chapter II-2, regulation an additional two fire-fighter’s outfits shall be provided on tankers.

Please check your own ship classification and verify your requirements as set for number of fire parties detailed on the Muster List.

In our next SOLAS related blog we will take a closer look at type of products that you actually need to purchase and what relevant Savox products offers great benefits to you and your onboard firefighting teams!



Mikael Westerlund

More than 20years of experience within the Professional communications field