November 18, 2002
Bangladesh takes firm line on fire safety
If your vessel is headed for Bangladesh, be sure that it's in compliance with the latest SOLAS fire safety requirements, particularly those related to carriage of Portable Foam Applicators (PFA) and Emergency Escape Breathing Devices (EEBD).
Bangladesh has recently issued a circular stating that it will enforce the requirement that all ships carry the PFA's and EEBD's, which are mandatory under the new IMO Fire Safety Systems Code (FSSC) and new revised Chapter II-2 of SOLAS. Both the new SOLAS 2000 Rules and FSSC have been in force since July 1, 2002.
The Bangladeshi action follows a Japanese Port State Control (PSC) detention under the new rules of a Bangladesh Shipping Corporation Ship in Tokyo. Since then the Bangladeshi maritime authorities, led by Minister of Shipping Lt. Col. Akbar Hossain and Director General of Shipping Commodore Ghulam Rabbani, have been working diligently to enhance compliance with the new rules both by Bangladesh-flag ships and visiting vessels. Earlier administrations paid less attention to implementing the requirements of international fire safety related requirements, even though portable foam applicators have long been mandatory for all ships over 500 gt
Domestic Bangladeshi shipowners have already gotten the message about the new, tougher line: Operators such as HRC Shipping, the country's largest private sector shipping line, and the state-owned Bangladesh Shipping Corporation are already installing the required PFA's and EEBD's onboard their fleets.
In the new circular the Department of Shipping advises the Mercantile Marine Department's Principal Officer Captain Shafiqualla to ensure compliance with the new fire safety requirements during Port State Control Inspection of foreign ships calling on Bangladesh port
Bangladesh has 700 kilometers of coastline area. Its two major ports, Chittagong and Mongla, serve approximately 1,615 foreign and locally owned ships per year. Negotiations are under way for an additional, privately owned, port to open in Chittagong.