Panama’s flag authority has approved the use of a combustible, fibre-reinforced, lightweight composite on a SOLAS ship owned by the Danish shipping company Nordic Bulk Carriers.
This new development will see the fibre-reinforced plastic composite replace steel hatches during vessel conversion.
Compared with steel hatches, the lightweight composites will make the 225m-long and 32m-wide ship lighter. It also reduces fuel consumption and emissions, while eliminating corrosion.
SP Technical Research Institute fire researcher Tommy Hertzberg said: "We have contributed our know-how to the Norwegian group and DNV-GL, which in conjunction with the Japanese shipyard, Oshima, has produced a clever, lightweight design, which resolves many of the problems there are with steel hatches.
"We have been responsible for the fire analysis in accordance with SOLAS Regulation 17, which is used to show how to achieve fire safety equivalent to steel, which has made the approval possible. I would describe this as a breakthrough."
Since 2004, SP has been involved in several projects to develop methods and produce information to get approval for this new composite on ships.
In September 2014, Nordic’s M/V Nordic Oshima was delivered from Oshima Shipyard in Japan.
The first vessel in a series of four Panamax new-builds, Nordic Oshima, is classed with the highest commercial Ice-class of 1A.
Image: Nordic’s M/V Nordic Oshima Panamax vessel was built at Japan’s Oshima Shipyard. Photo: courtesy of Nordic Bulk Carriers.