Vessel fires attributable to lithium-ion batteries in electrical vehicles are ferocious and intensely troublesome to regulate – one thing that few transport corporations or their crew learn about, in response to a number one fuels professional.

Tony In’t Hout, Director at Stream Marine Coaching (SMT), believes crew members on container ships carrying electrical vehicles face critical damage or worse until they perceive what causes the batteries to ignite and find out how to quell the flames.

“Within the maritime sector, the difficulty of electrical car batteries being extremely flammable after they overheat is usually missed,” he mentioned. “Folks don’t realise how harmful lithium-ion batteries are, so the transport sector wants programs on find out how to struggle fires – particularly as we’ve seen fairly a couple of blazes on ships lately attributable to car batteries.”

This yr, maritime coaching supplier SMT is launching a two-day course, headed by Dutch nationwide Mr In’t Hout, that explores the hearth dangers to ships carrying lithium-ion batteries. One widespread trigger is the whole battery-package overheating (thermal runway).

On day one of many course, trainees will find out about electrical car batteries and different probably flammable ship trade fuels resembling ammonia, hydrogen and methanol. They will even research the carbon footprint of those vitality sources. Day two sees the attendees doing sensible firefighting periods at SMT’s coaching facility in Glasgow, Scotland.

“An aluminium automobile battery holds eight occasions the facility of a standard one, so it will possibly gas itself if it catches hearth,” mentioned Mr In’t Hout. “Anybody engaged on ships wants to know find out how to take care of that sort of scenario, which we cowl on day two of the course.

Electrical automobile battery fires could be ferocious

“One other instance is when you’ve got a ferry with a hydrogen truck, an aluminium-battery automobile and an LNG truck subsequent to one another when a fireplace breaks out – what ought to the crew do in that situation? Most seafarers received’t know as a result of they haven’t had the related coaching.”

Fireplace outbreaks on vessels attributable to electrical car batteries have turn into extra commonplace. In Could 2019, a fireplace broke out on the Grande Europa roro, some 25 miles from Palma de Mallorca within the Mediterranean. Simply two months earlier, the Grande America roro sank within the Bay of Biscay after igniting. It’s believed that automobile batteries sparked the fires on each vessels, which had been owned by Italian roro operator Grimaldi Group.

Extra lately, firefighters needed to douse flames on Brim, a Norwegian passenger vessel, after its battery ignited on 12 March 2021.The trigger was attributed to an overheated battery on the tour boat, which had taken kids on an academic journey earlier that day. Fortuitously, not one of the crew nonetheless on the ship when it caught hearth had been injured.

“In case you have a battery automobile that ignites, you’ll be able to throw a blanket over it or, as we do in Holland, put it in an open-top container truck full of water,” Mr In’t Hout mentioned. “The chemical within the battery retains fuelling itself, so that you want water to chill it down. That’s one of many many issues we educate on our course.”
Supply: Stream Marine Coaching