The Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport has become the first national authority to publish specifications for new portable radios required under SOLAS Chapter II-2, Regulation 10.10.4 — ‘Fire Fighters Communication.’
Coming into force this summer for 65,000 SOLAS vessels, Regulation 10.10.4 is designed to improve safety by securing dedicated communication systems for fire parties on board. While legally binding for Italian flagged ships, Cobham SATCOM believes that Italy’s standards will have global ramifications, as confusion persists on the required product specifications for compliance.
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 June 13, 2017. 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.
Niels Peter Agdal, Director – Radio, Safety & Tracking, Cobham SATCOM, said that 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. To avoid potential financial penalties or port delays and to support the safety of fire parties in action, the company recommends 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.
Christian Kock, VP, Global Sales & Marketing, Maritime, added that Italy’s take on Regulation 10.10.4 is in line with Cobham SATCOM’s understanding from the very beginning, so the company is pleased to see that the high standards and focus on safety we set with the firm's dedicated SAILOR 3965 UHF Fire Fighter portable radio have been vindicated. Ship owners already have an intrinsically safe product that’s ready for order and that provides significant safety benefits and confidence that it complies with the new regulations.