In 1990, a fire aboard the Scandinavian Star passenger ship left 158 persons
dead. The incident raised a number of issues relating to fire protection
In December 1992, IMO adopted a comprehensive set of fire safety amendments,
applicable to both new and existing passenger ships. The amendments required
the installation of the latest fire safety features applicable to any
modern hotel such as automatic sprinkler and smoke detection systems,
and the upgrading of fire safety bulkheads to non-combustible materials
and improved methods for assisting escaping persons, such as use of low
Also in 1992, the Sub-Committee on Fire Protection agreed to undertake
a comprehensive revision of SOLAS chapter II-2 as it was felt that the
adoption, over a number years, of various sets of amendments, made the
chapter difficult to use and implement. Technological advancements and
lessons learned from accidents, since the chapter’s last revision
in 1981, required new provisions to be added and for existing requirements
to be modified. However, the outcome of this eight year effort resulted
in more than just a “user-friendly” amalgamation of the latest
amendments, but an entirely new structure for SOLAS chapter II-2 which
will better accommodate the way port and flag States and ship designers
deal with fire safety issues in the future.
In particular, the existing chapter had many vague phrases such as “to
the satisfaction of the Administration” or “a means shall
be provided”. In fact, there were over 200 such phrases used throughout
the chapter. In addition, the existing chapter had no support structure
to accommodate novel designs and features and there was little focus on
the human element, an issue which is now receiving a great deal of attention
given that 80% maritime casualties are attributed to human factors.
1996 amendments and International Code for Application of Fire Test Procedures
The 1996 amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 - which entered into force
in 1998 - included changes to the general introduction, Part B (fire safety
measures for passenger ships), Part C (fire safety measures for cargo
ships) and Part D (fire safety measures for tankers).
A new International Code for the Application of Fire Test Procedures
was also developed and made mandatory on 1 July 1998. The Code is for
use by Administrations when approving products for installation in ships
flying their flag.
The FTP Code provides international requirements for laboratory testing,
type approval and fire test procedures for the:
smoke and toxicity test;
test for ''A'', ''B'' and ''F'' class divisions;
test for fire door control systems;
test for surface flammability;
test for primary deck coverings;
test for vertically supported textiles and films;
test for upholstered furniture; and
test for bedding components.
2000 amendments - revised chapter II-2
In December 2000, IMO adopted a completely revised SOLAS chapter II-2,
which entered into force on 1 July 2002.
The new structure focuses on the "fire scenario process" rather
than on ship type, as the previous SOLAS chapter II-2 was structured.
Thus, the regulations start with prevention, detection, and suppression
following all the way through to escape. In addition, to make the revised
SOLAS chapter II-2 more user-friendly, specific system-related technical
requirements have been moved to the new International Fire Safety Systems
Code and each regulation has a purpose statement and functional requirements
to assist port and flag States.
The revised SOLAS chapter II-2 has a new part E that deals exclusively
with human element matters such as training, drills and maintenance issues
and a new part F that sets out a methodology for approving alternative
(or novel) designs and arrangements