Survitec’s firefighting system for Yara Birkeland

Published: 20.01.2022 kl. 09.35
Survitec’s firefighting system aboard Yara Birkeland has successfully completed its first annual service. Yara Birkeland image courtesy of Yara Marine Technologies
Survitec’s firefighting system aboard Yara Birkeland has successfully completed its first annual service. Yara Birkeland image courtesy of Yara Marine Technologies
Survitec’s advanced firefighting system and safety equipment aboard Yara Birkeland – the world’s first fully autonomous containership – has successfully completed its first annual service. 

The ground-breaking vessel, which deployed on its maiden manned voyage in November, operates a unique, automatic and remotely operated fire system designed and commissioned by survival technology leader Survitec.
Survitec’s scope of supply included a Novenco XFlow® water mist system for the vessel’s eight separate battery rooms; an Inergen fire extinguishing system for the switchboard rooms, pumps rooms, control rooms and electrical spaces; and an NFF XFlow® Deluge system for the cargo holds, open decks, superstructure and other compartments.
A wide range of standalone fire safety and life-saving equipment, including flares, radios, breathing apparatus, immersion suits and lifejackets, also passed the November inspection.
“The fire system aboard Yara Birkeland is ready for safe operations, with crews monitoring the system from a virtual bridge and machinery control room ashore,” said Survitec Account Manager Andreas Dåsvatn.
Going on to comment on the different approach required to extinguish a fire aboard a crewless ship, Dåsvatn explained: “Typically, fire systems are built for manual operation, so we had to redesign the system for automatic activation based on the signals received from heat, flame and fire sensors located all around the vessel. The fire systems also had to send signals to seawater pumps, gas cylinders and valves, providing alerts to operators shoreside.”
Mark Clegg, Managing Director, Survitec Fire Solutions, added that the entire system had to be rethought to facilitate independent activation from a virtual bridge and machinery control room on shore.
“This new approach meant we had to redesign the Novenco system for 60 minutes of operation rather than 30 minutes specified for conventional vessels. Moreover, since the vessel’s cargo holds are designed according to IMO MSC Circ.608 requirements (which normally requires a manual firefighting approach), the NFF XFlow Deluge nozzles had to be redesigned and sited for crewless operation,” he said.
Extra fire safety features built into the ship included additional segregated fire zones and system redundancy. Drain valves have also been integrated into the system to allow for automatic opening and closing to prevent free-surface flooding.
The success of the fire system aboard Yara Birkeland has placed Survitec at the vanguard of fire safety technology for a new generation of autonomous vessels.
A similar firefighting system is currently being designed for a pair of 67m fully autonomous ferries under construction at a yard in India.
Dåsvatn said: “This is just the beginning. As the industry starts to see these autonomous, alternatively fuelled vessels operating successfully and safely, demand will speed up. We predict more autonomous vessel projects over coming years. But in terms of ship safety, we’re already ahead of the curve.”

About Survitec
  • Survitec is a global leader in survival and safety solutions to the marine, defence, aviation and energy markets. 
  • Survitec has over 3,000 employees worldwide covering eight manufacturing facilities, 15 offshore support centres and over 70 owned service centres. 
  • It is further supported by a network of over 500 3rd party service centres and distributors. 
  • Survitec has received Z-17 approval as a class-approved service provider from seven major classification societies, and also has ISO 9001 certification, the international standard for quality management systems. 
  • Throughout its 160-year+ history, Survitec has remained at the forefront of innovation, design and application engineering and is the trusted name when it comes to critical safety and survival solutions.

John Inge Vikan



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