[FAQ] What Regulations Are Included in The FOC?


Recently, ABS published a detailed guideline of firefighting procedures in container cargo fire. Today, we are enlisting a part of that document that chronicles the effectivity of FOC Notation while firefighting.

What is FOC?

The FOC notation is being offered primarily to recognize enhanced container deck firefighting capability onboard Container Carriers beyond that required by SOLAS Chapter II-2 Regulation 10 requirements [aSamended by IMO Resolution MSC 365(93)]. Where the optional FOC notation is requested, the following fire safety equipment and arrangements, which includes the basic SOLAS requirements, are to be provided.

Cargo Deck Area Fire Main System


The total combined capacity of the fire pumps and fire main diameter are to be sufficient to supply the required pressure and volume for adequate and simultaneous operation of the following:

i) Fire main system required by 4-7-3/1.5.6 of the Marine Vessel Rules, supplying four (4) hoses on the weather deck at the pressure identified in 2/3.5 below, equally divided between both sides,

ii) A flow rate of water through the required number of monitors equivalent to 2.0 liters/min/m2 (0.05 gal/min/ft2) times the maximum projected area of the combined faces of the largest bay (forward and aft) that could be engaged in a fire, but not less than the minimum capacity of the required monitors [see 2/5.3iii)],

iii) Water mist lance,

iv) Any additional water arrangements required by 4-7-2/7.3 of the Marine Vessel Rules for dry cargo spaces intended to carry dangerous goods,

v) Any other fixed fire-fighting systems served by the fire pumps that could be expected to operate at the same time, and

vi) If applicable, the fixed water-spray system for hatch covers, see 4/3.1.

vii) The application of water on container bays forward and aft of a bay engaged in a fire as specified in 2/3.11

The drainage of the cargo holds is to be independent of the cargo area fire main system. Dewatering of the cargo holds by eductors supplied from the fire pumps may be used provided the available capacity is adequate to simultaneously supply all required firefighting services as well as the eductors of any two adjacent holds.


With the combined fire pumps in operation, the system is to be capable of delivering the quantity of water necessary to simultaneously supply all required mobile water monitors at the most hydraulically remote location at the required flow rate and with the pressure necessary to reach the top tier of the containers on deck  along with all other fire-fighting systems and equipment identified above in 2/3.3 at their required flow rates and pressures while maintaining the following minimum pressures at all hydrants on the vessel:

i) Vessels of 6,000 gross tonnage and upwards: 0.27 N/mm2 (2.8 kgf/cm2, 40 psi)

ii) Vessels less than 6,000 gross tonnage: 0.25 N/mm2 (2.6 kgf/cm2, 37 psi)

During all possible operating scenarios, the maximum pressure at any hydrant is not to exceed that at which the effective control of a fire hose can be demonstrated.

Cargo Deck Area Fire Main Piping 

The fire main piping serving the on deck cargo area is to consist of two runs, one on each side of the vessel, traversing the length of the on-deck cargo area and located outboard of the cargo hatch area.

The port and starboard lines are to be interconnected at the forward and aft ends of the vessel (i.e., loop fire main). The combined diameters of this piping are to be sufficient for the effective distribution of the discharge required by the equipment and systems identified in 2/3.3 at the required pressures from the fire pumps while operating simultaneously.

The water piping serving the cargo area is to be provided with manually operable isolation valves every 40 meters (130 feet).

Also, isolation valves are to be installed adjacent to an accommodation superstructure or deck house and located before entering the on-deck cargo areas forward and aft of the superstructure or deck house.A normally closed isolation valve is to also be installed where the two fire lines connect together at the forward and aft ends of the vessel.

Drainage arrangements are to be provided to protect against freezing water damage.

Weather Deck Hydrants Arrangements

Number and Position

The number and position of hydrants in the cargo area are to comply with the following:

i) All required monitors are to be capable of operating simultaneously

ii) There are to be a sufficient number of hydrants immediately forward and aft of each
container bay to supply the total required number of monitors; each from a separate
hydrant and at least half the required number through a single 15 m (50 ft) length of fire

iii) The locations of the hydrants are to allow the monitors to be evenly distributed along the width of the spaces between the container bays, to the extent practicable;

iv) At least one hydrant is to be located immediately outboard on each side of the space
between the container bays. Where a lashing bridge is fitted, these hydrants are to be
located on the top of the lashing bridge. The jet of water from a mobile water monitor
connected to these hydrants is to be capable of reaching inboard at least two thirds the
breadth of the vessel.

Protection of Hoses and Hydrants

Arrangements are to be provided to cool the hoses and hydrants that will be located between the container bays from the effects of the heat of the fire, unless otherwise determined to be suitable for prolonged exposure under such conditions.

Application of Water on Container Bays Forward and Aft of Bay Engaged in a Fire


The system is to provide for the simultaneous operation of all required monitors evenly distributed between the forward and aft of any bay that could be engaged in a fire at the required capacity and pressure (refer to 3/3.5) in addition to any other system identified in 2/3.3.

Lashing Bridge Hoses and Hydrants 

The hydrant discharge arrangements and lengths of hoses for supplying monitors on the lashing bridges are to be such that the monitors can be supplied without the need to reverse direction or create a “U” bend in the supply hose between the hydrant and the monitor. These arrangements are to consider the required number of monitors, evenly distributed cross the breadth of the lashing bridges forward and aft of any bay and supplied to the extent possible by hydrants located on the lashing bridges. Hoses of less than ten (10) meters (32.8 feet) are to be marked for water monitor use only.

Relief Valves, Pipes and Hydrants

Relief valves are to comply with 4-7-3/1.5.6 of the Marine Vessel Rules.
Pipes and hydrants are to comply with 4-7-3/1.11.1 and 4-7-3/1.11.2 of the Marine Vessel Rules. All piping, valves, and hydrants are to be suitably protected from damage and corrosion.

Mobile Water Monitors

Minimum Number of Mobile Water Monitors

i) Vessels with a breadth less than 30 m (98 ft) carrying containers on the weather deck are to be provided with at least four (4) mobile water monitors.

ii) Vessels with a breadth of at least 30 m (98 ft) but less than 45 m (147.6 ft) carrying containers on the weather deck are to be provided with at least six (6) mobile water monitors.

iii) Vessels with a breadth of at least 45 m (147.5 ft) but less than 60 m (197 ft) carrying containers on the weather deck are to be provided with at least eight (8) mobile water monitors.

iv) Vessels with a breadth of 60 m (197 ft) or more are to be provided with at least ten (10) mobile water monitors.

Mobile Water Monitors Essential Criteria

Each mobile water monitor, as a minimum, is to comply with the following:

i) Constructed of lightweight, corrosion-resistant materials.

ii) Equipped with a coupling allowing connection to the vessel’s fire hydrants via a fire hose. The coupling and hose are to be sized for the proper flow and pressure to support the performance of the monitor.

iii) The minimum capacity is to be 60 m3 /hr (1,000 liters/min, 265 gpm) at the pressure necessary to reach the top tier of the containers on deck (see 2/5.3v below).

iv) Capable of a minimum horizontal throw of 40 m (131 ft) at an inlet pressure of 0.4 N/mm2 (4.1 kgf/cm2 , 58 psi), when discharging at a horizontal elevation of 30-35°.

v) Capable of a minimum vertical throw sufficient to reach the top of the highest tier of containers when discharging at an elevation of not more than 75°.

vi) Allows swiveling of the discharge nozzle for adjusting the throw direction of the water in both the horizontal and vertical planes, while in continuous operation. The vertical swivel range is to be 0° to 90°. If lubrication is required, external lubrication fittings are to be provided for the swivel joints.

vii) The discharge nozzle is to be of a dual-purpose spray/jet type incorporating a shutoff and capable of discharging an effective water spray between container bays in the event of a container fire in the on-deck cargo area.

viii) The design configuration is to minimize nozzle thrust reaction, and is to permit unattended operation once the monitor is placed in position.

ix) Provide means for a secure/safe fixing to the vessel’s weather deck, lashing bridge, or other applicable structure.

x) Provide a carrying handle or other means for ease of transport. Monitors weighing more than 23 kg (50 lbs) are to be fitted with wheels.

xi) Where monitors are to be used on a lashing bridge, arrangements such as davits or hoists are to be provided on the port and starboard sides of each lashing bridge to raise and lower the monitors.

The mobile water monitors, all necessary hoses, fittings, and required fixing hardware are to be kept ready for use in a location outside the cargo space area and accessible in the event of a fire in the cargo spaces. Efficient drainage of water from deck surfaces is to be provided when the mobile water monitors are in operation.

Alternative Arrangements

A fixed water spray system or a combination of a fixed and mobile water monitor system may be specially considered as an alternative to the hydrants and mobile water monitors addressed above provided it is established to provide an equivalent level of protection.

Water Mist Lance 

Vessels carrying containers on the weather deck are to be provided with at least one water mist lance. The water mist lance is to be of a type capable of penetrating a standard container. If one water mist lance is provided as per 5C-5-7/3.5.1 of the Marine Vessel Rules, no additional lance is required.

Fire-fighter’s Breathing Apparatus

For each required breathing apparatus, four spare charges are to be provided in addition to the requirements of 4-7-3/15.5.1(b) of the Marine Vessel Rules.

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Source: ABS


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