Shortage of components challenge fire-fighter radio compliance


The deadline for ships to carry two fire-fighter radios on board from 1 July 2018 is proving difficult for shipowners to meet, due to a shortage of components.

BIMCO was recently made aware of the issue and wishes to raise awareness amongst its members.

In 2012, the IMO Maritime Safety Committee adopted Resolution MSC.338(91) among which Chapter II-2 “Construction – Fire Protection, Fire Detection and Fire Extinction” is of specific interest to firefighting process and technology.

The resolution introduces a new carriage requirement under SOLAS Chapter II-2, Regulation 10.10.4 “fire-fighter´s communication”. It states that ships constructed on or after 1 July 2014 are required to carry two two-way portable radios for fire-fighter communication. 

It has however come to the attention of BIMCO that some of the companies involved in the manufacturing of fire-fighter radios are encountering a significant shortage of electronic component parts. This potentially makes it difficult to deliver a sufficient quantity of radios in time for ships to comply with the requirement.

One of the manufacturers affected has conducted extensive investigations into the availability of components. Although it was expected that the situation would have improved by June or July 2018, it now appears that the shortage of component parts is a persistent issue.

As a consequence, it seems clear that there will be some difficulty for ships to obtain the necessary fire-fighter radios required by the new Regulation 10.10.4 no later than the first survey after 1 July 2018.

If a ship cannot obtain the radios in time, it will require an exemption from its flag state in order to sail. However, since the problem will only show up at the time when a radio survey is carried out on board the ship, it could be some months before flag states become aware of a problem.

It is BIMCO’s intention to raise this matter at the IMO in December 2018, to bring it to the attention of flag states and consider potential mitigating actions.

BIMCO will keep its members informed about the progress.

The resolution introducing the new carriage requirement under SOLAS Chapter II-2, Regulation 10.10.4 “fire-fighter´s communication”:

10.4 Fire-fighter's communication
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-way portable 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.


Jeppe Skovbakke Juhl
in Copenhagen, DK


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