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Directional Sound Evacuation - Ships

Evacuation tragedies such as the Scandinavian Star incident in 1990 resulted in the adoption of Low Location Lighting (LLL) as an aid to evacuation from smoke filled corridors and stairs on passenger ships.  The recent fire aboard cruise ship Nieuw Amsterdam raised doubts about the effectiveness of LLL - a passenger became disoriented in smoke outside his cabin and failed to find an exit despite electro-luminescent LLL being in operation. 


Open areas are an increasingly popular feature of modern passenger vessels, typically comprising 40% or more of the passenger space. There are no evacuation aids within the SOLAS regulations to assist passenger escape from these open spaces in smoke. At the recent IMO Fire Prevention sub-committee in Feb '03, it was agreed that means of escape from Open Spaces do now need to be considered - a study group has been set up to recommend changes to the SOLAS regulations.

Following recent independent marine trials supervised by Strathclyde University and the British Government's Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) aboard Caledonian MacBrayne ferries in Scotland and Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Conquest in Italy, the Maritime Administrations of the UK and German Governments proposed Directional Sound Evacuation technology to the United Nations' International Maritime Organisation (IMO)
as an innovative technology for passenger safety on cruise ships and ferries. The IMO gave an encouraging reception to the proposals and a draft ISO standard is now under review by a specialist committee. Full details are available on the MCA’s web site:

Used instead of LLL, substantial savings can be made by ship builders and owners whilst passenger safety is improved.  Under recent changes to Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations, DSE systems can now be proposed as an alternative to LLL for new ships using regulation 2-II-17 (alternative design and arrangements).  


Used in addition to LLL, a comprehensive evacuation guidance solution is possible - also catering for the needs of the visually and hearing  impaired - assisting owners discharge their obligations under both American and European Disability Discrimination legislation.


More details:

Download Now! RINA & Lloyds Register award for Safer Ships presented to Sound Alert

Download Now! - RINA ship safety conf paper 26/03/03 (pdf 300k) includes outline of design, installation and operational considerations
Download Now! - Directional Sound Evacuation - an improved way guidance system - paper to Lloyds List Fire on Ships conference 13/3/03
Download Now!
  - Lloyds Conference presentation notes (pdf format 307k)

Download Now!  - Marine evacuation application brochure (.pdf format 136k)
Download Now!  - NTSB Nieuw Amsterdam report (extracts) (.pdf 139k)

Download Now! - Fairplay Solutions update May 2002 

Download Now! - NUMAST Telegraph Aug 02 - audibility trials and overview

Download Now! - Lloyds list 19 Oct 01 article on marine trials (pdf format)



UK Govt's Maritime & Coastguard Agency papers to IMO FP46:

     Link to Executive overview (.pdf format 9k)

     Link to Annex - summary of marine trials (.pdf format 547k)


UK & German Govt's papers to IMO MSC75 - May 2002:
     Link to proposal for changes to SOLAS (.pdf format 9.2k)
     Link to draft directional sounder standard (.pdf format 547k)
     Link to MCA web site with details of independent research

     Extract of IMO's MSC75 meeting report re: DSE


UK & German Govt's papers to IMO FP47 - Feb 2003:
     Link to summary of Italy cruise ship tests and system design & implementation proposals
     Link to draft ISO standard discussion document 

SOLAS Regulation 2-II-17 "Alternative arrangements"

     Link to "Safety First" project information

No Smoke

Some Smoke

Total Occlusion

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