The Hocke Net
K vessels and fire load spaces
February 19, 2013
By 2010, the Coast Guard said significant progress had been made in the design and approval of structural fire protection materials such as fire resistant glazing and fire resistant furniture since 1997.
As a result, the U.S. Coast Guard updated NVIC 9-97, the "Guide to Structural Fire Protection," in July 2010. The update addressed the
structural fire protection regulations in 46 CFR Chapter II-2 for SOLAS, IMO
High-Speed Craft, and IMO Mobile Offshore Drilling Units. For passenger vessel
owners and operators, it affects Subchapter K vessels that carry more than 150 passengers.
The July 2010 update, "Change 1 to NVIC 9-97, Guide to Structural Fire Protection," was done to reflect recent trends in the
shipbuilding industry. The original guidance was written with large oceangoing
passenger vessels in mind.
Consequently, the rules changed for shipyards building passenger
vessels carrying more than 150 passengers, making it nearly impossible for
shipyards building high-speed aluminum ferries to build a new Subchapter
an effort to remedy the situation, the Coast Guard and industry formed a
partnership to study whether it was possible to build K vessels with
very low fire load spaces, employing strategies such as bench-scale
experiments, site visits, full-scale computer models, and key controls
were applying engineering fundamentals to policy development,” Capt. John
Mauger, the Coast Guard's chief of office of design and engineering standards told an
overflow crowd at the Passenger Vessel Association’s annual convention in Jacksonville, Fla., on Sunday.
of the partnership’s goals was to improve “the body of knowledge,” said Mauger.
That goal was accomplished.
the studies proved was that the Coast Guard had it right in the first place.
The guidelines shipbuilders were using concerning very low fire load spaces
prior to the 2010 update were, indeed, the proper fire protection procedures to
use when building K vessels. “We’re back, almost, to where we
started,” said Mauger.
along with the Coast Guard has come together and the Coast Guard is issuing a
memorandum here at the PVA convention further clarifying and explaining how we
can continue to build these vessels,” said Joe Hudspeth, vice president of business
development at Bellingham, Wash.-based All