Industrial Fire Journal - Fire & Rescue - Hemming Group Ltd
Emergency comms in the high seas
Published:  09 July, 2018

The Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport has become the first national authority to publish specifications for portable radios for firefighters under new Solas rules.

Coming into force this summer for 65,000 Solas vessels, Regulation 10.10.4 – ‘Fire Fighters Communication’ is designed to improve safety by securing dedicated communication systems for fire parties on board.

Italy states that all radios dedicated to fire parties on board Italian flagged Solas vessels must comply with Red (directive 2014/53/UE) or RTTE (directive 1999/05/CE) for equipment sold before 13 June 2017.

In addition, radios must have a declaration of conformity to refer to Etsi EN 300 720 for equipment in UHF band or ETSI EN 301 178 for equipment in VHF band and be compliant with the Atex directive 2014/34/UE. Critically, the declaration of conformity must refer to EN 60079-11:2012 with radios classified at least Atex II 2G EX ib IIB T4.

Radio manufacturer Cobham Satcom believes that Italy’s standards will have global ramifications, as confusion persists on the required product specifications for compliance. “While legally binding to Italian flagged vessels, it’s also expected that other flag states and surveyors globally will base their approach on Italy’s radio specifications for Regulation 10.10.4,” said Niels Peter Agdal, director – radio, safety and tracking, Cobham Satcom. “To avoid potential financial penalties or port delays and to support the safety of fire parties in action, we recommend that all Solas shipowners review the Italian specifications and act accordingly by ensuring they order maritime approved radios rated to Atex IIB, such as the Sailor 3965 UHF Fire Fighter.”

Picture caption: Cobham Satcom's Sailor range is the world's first marine-approved portable radio made specifically for fulfilling the new Solas Chapter II-2, Regulation 10.10.4 - 'Fire Fighters Communication'.