In Europe, the fittings and materials used in ships sailing under the flags of the Members States of the European Union, EU, must comply with the Marine Equipment Directive 96/98/EC. The Directive's criteria relating to fire safety are based on the international SOLAS requirements (the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea) and IMO (International Maritime Organization) Fire Test Procedures Code 2010 (IMO Resolution MSC.307(88)).
The Directive requires that a product is tested and type approved, and that production quality assurance is put in place. The products must bear an approval mark when placed on board a ship (a ship's wheel symbol). MRA Agreement (Mutual Recognition Agreements on marine equipment) between the United States and the European Union ensures that European wheel-marked products are approved in the United States and USCG-approved (United States Coast Guard) products in Europe.
Fittings and materials used in ships not sailing under the flags of the EU Member States are approved by the maritime authority of the respective flag state. The flag authority is often a maritime classification society. Even then the approval is based on SOLAS requirements and methods complying with the Fire Test Procedures Code (FTPC) of IMO.
As a notified body complying with the Marine Equipment Directive, VTT Expert Services Ltd assists manufacturers in complying with the Directive.
Certifications and approvals issued by VTT Expert Services Ltd
Regulations, classifications and testing methods
Regulations relating to the fire safety of vessels are provided in Chapter II-2 of SOLAS, which contains structural fire class requirements according to use. Structures are divided into the following fire classes: A0, A15, A30 and A60 as well as B0 and B15.
The fire class is established using the testing methods required by Part 3 of the 2010 FTP Code. Plastic pipes used on ship are tested in accordance with IMO Resolution A.753(18) methods for dividing them into classes L1, L2 and L3.
Accredited testing services for ships
We secure the fire safety of structures and systems used on ship using fire tests that comply with the 2010 FTP Code of the International Maritime Organization:
- A and B class bulkheads and decks (2010 FTP Code, Part 3)
- B class linings and ceilings (2010 FTP Code, Part 3)
- Doors (2010 FTP Code, Part 3)
- Windows (2010 FTP Code, Part 3)
- Fire dampers (2010 FTP Code, Part 3)
- Pipe, duct and cable inlets (2010 FTP Code, Part 3)
- Fire door actuators (2010 FTP Code, Part 4)
- Fire-proof structures of high-speed vessels (2010 FTP Code, Part 11)
- Pipe testing (IMO Resolution A.753(18))
It is also possible to test bigger test specimens in our vertical furnace. With custom-made arrangements the tested structure may be even 4 m high or 5 m wide.
Test plans and statements
We make test plans to cover extensive end use applications. Statements for fire safety can be produced based on test results and other possible information provided by the customer.
Our testing services are accredited in compliance with SFS-EN ISO/IEC 17025:2005 by FINAS (Finnish Accreditation Service). Our competence scope of Fire Safety is presented in FINAS decision T001, Appendix 1.11. United States Coast Guard (USCG) and Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RMRS) have accepted and recognized us as an independent testing laboratory for certain test protocols set forth in the FTP and FSS Codes (2010). The valid scope can be found via our Accreditations -site.
Our experts possess strong expertise in approval testing using various methods. By participating in international standardisation work in the ship and construction sector actively, we can ensure that our experts have access to up-to-date information. Ask our experts for more information about marine structure's acceptance for buildings.