The global share of vehicles with alternative drives is rising steadily. This has led to an increase in the amount of alternative fueled vehicles transported on ferries. However, there are currently no clear safety concepts for transporting alternative fueled vehicles on ferries. This means that currently there are no special considerations made for these vehicles – whether looking at the loading process or during crossings.
What exactly has to be taken into account?
Alternative fueled vehicles have different properties and risks from those of conventional vehicles. In the event of a battery fire in an electric vehicle, for instance, the individual cells contained in the battery burst open one by one, repeatedly feeding or reigniting the fire. These fires are long-lasting, hard to control, and release toxic gases that endanger nearby crew members and passengers. In hydrogen-powered vehicles, on the other hand, it is especially important to note that the flame of a hydrogen fire is not necessarily visible in daylight. Thus, for safe and effective on-board hazard mitigation, it is vital to know what type of drive system an affected vehicle has and what types of drives are in the critical environment.
Why should this be considered on board the vessel?
In a critical situation on-board, the crew must initiate preliminary measures themselves, for instance also for firefighting. Up to now, however, the crew has been unaware whether alternative fueled vehicles were on board or where they were located. Furthermore, there is a lack of knowledge and experience in dealing with these new hazards.
Goal of the project
To meet these challenges, the project developed concepts for the safe integration of alternative fueled vehicles into ferry traffic. The focus was on the development of a usable situation and decision support system to assist the crew on the ship's bridge in monitoring vehicle decks and to increase the safety of transporting alternative fueled vehicles on ferries, not only when it comes to firefighting but as early as the prevention stage.