Norway’s Havila Kystruten will no longer carry electric or hybrid cars on its ferries because of fire fears.
Chief executive Bent Martini said a risk analysis by Proactima had concluded that only blazes starting in conventional vehicles can be dealt with by crews.
Calling the ban a “pure safety assessment”, he added: “A possible fire in electric, hybrid or hydrogen cars will require external rescue efforts and can endanger people on board and the ships.
“We take security seriously, and it is of course a risk we are under no circumstances willing to take.”
Havila Kystruten said it is working to find solutions that can minimise the risk of transporting this type of vehicle in the future.
“We are fully aware that there is a certain expectation, especially from the coastal community, that ships along the coastal route must assist with the transport of private motor vehicles between ports,” Martini said.
“At the same time, it is not a requirement in the agreement with the Ministry of Transport that ships on the coastal route must transport private cars.”
Havila Kystruten’s ships have the largest battery packs installed on any passenger vessels, but the Saevik family-controlled owner said these do not pose a safety risk.
“Our ships are built with their own battery packs, and they are installed in accordance with current requirements for fire safety on ships. This means that our batteries are divided into isolated and fireproof rooms, with specific fire protection systems,” the CEO said.
Electric car fires have been a problem for vehicle carriers.
Owners of these specialised ships are flush with cash and need to spend more on preventing these incidents, insurers have warned owners.
Captain Martti Simojoki of marine insurer Alandia and Geir Jorgensen, Skuld’s global head of loss prevention, said shipping companies should also be spending more on training and equipment.