Passive Fire Protection: Serious Business

Jul 06, 2019 by Joseph Keefe, Marine Link Magazine

STI Marine Firestop’s Online Fire Protection Training Program features curriculum that targets shipyard employees, contractors and surveyors.

When STI Marine Firestop – a division of Specified Technologies – added a new, free Marine Online Training Program to its website, its purpose was to provide in-depth curriculum that targets shipyard employees and contractors and the surveyors that must inspect their work. To be sure, the world of passive fire protection might seem, on the surface, to be a boring and unimportant part of today’s workboat vessels. But, that’s not the case. STI’s new training portal shows us why.

In a nutshell, the Marine Online Training curriculum provides an overview of passive fi re protection and its important role in ensuring life safety at sea. That’s because the task of installing penetration seals and cable transits and successfully integrating such protection systems into fire-rated bulkheads and decks, including areas where water-tightness is required is one of them most important but perhaps least understood part of the newbuild process. Until now.


“The online training is intended to be comprehensive enough to provide an overview of passive fi re protection in the marine environment, and then cover specific products and technologies, including aspects of the installation,” James P. Stahl Jr., STI Marine Firestop Vice President & General Manager told MarineNews in June, adding, “The marine business is a global business, and we wanted an immersive way to educate shipyard employees, contractors, and even surveyors working anywhere in the world via distance learning.”

For its part, STI Marine Firestop’s main business involves providing penetration seals and cable transits for use in fire-rated bulkheads and decks. Their product families include water-tight sealants, firestop collars, non-hardening putty, silicone foam, cable plugs and innovative EZPath Marine Cable Transit and Marine Snap Seal systems. In the near future, STI will roll out another product – the MBD Busbar Firestop Device.

The IMO’s FTP Code and SOLAS requires any penetration through a fire-rated bulkhead or deck be sealed to prevent the passage of fire and hot gases, and STI’s USA manufactured products help contribute to the protection afforded to the vessel, and the personnel onboard the vessel. Stahl adds, “We also have specific products that provide watertightness where required in the event of compartment flooding. Our products are installed in all types of vessels, including workboats such as tugs, support vessels, offshore vessels, fishing vessels, superyachts, ferries, naval vessels, and platforms.” STI clients include Matson and Patriot Contract Services and recent product installations include the USNS Shughart, and NOAA’s Oscar Elton Sette.

According to Stahl, however, it simply isn’t enough to procure the best equipment and hope that it works, should it ever come to that. “Knowledge is the key to compliant installations. When the workers installing the products have a more comprehensive understanding as to the importance, we believe they will ensure the systems are installed correctly. We also know that video and images can tell the story in a more compelling manner than blackand- white instruction sheets, so there is that element, too. For the surveyors inspecting for compliance, there is the familiarity with seeing compliant installations, and the specific knowledge as to what constitutes compliance.”

Naturally, the training module focuses on STI’s hardware, a considerable array spanning watertight soft sealants all the way to marine pipe and cable transit system. These transits allow for easy cable moves, additions, and changes without the need to remove or replace sealing materials. Beyond this, and in the past year, STI has expanded the line to include solutions for sealing busbars, a method to fix deficient block/cable transit frames, and a unique product – Snap-Seal Cable Plugs – for single or small cable bunches. Stahl explains, “With more security cameras being installed aboard ships, Snap-Seal is proving very popular, and we have an Ingress Protection Rating of IP66 when used in conjunction with MFS Sealant.”


Each U.S.-manufactured product sold by Somerville, NJ-based STI Marine Firestop is available globally and the complete line is fully tested to IMO FTTP 2010 and certified by major classifi cation agencies, including DNV GL, Lloyds Register, ABS, BV, and RINA. Notably, and as this magazine went to print, STI is the prime for an NSRP Electrical Technologies Panel Project to bring the EzPath MDM 150 cable transit to the U.S. Navy. Even James Stahl, however, knows that improperly installed equipment by untrained yard personnel is a recipe for disaster.

According to Stahl, the nascent STI Marine Firestop Online Passive Fire Protection Training Program been well received. An infl ux of registrations from the specifi c types of people that the training is targeted for have been received. Stahl adds, “We have certainly seen a surge of surveyors, and that is great, too, because they are important stakeholders in terms of helping to ensure that systems are installed properly.” For surveyors, understanding all the nuances of what constitutes a proper installation means that they can inspect accordingly. Beyond this, the curriculum drills down into the importance of Type Approvals and the manufacturer’s installation instructions that accompany them. In the end, those documents are a roadmap for compliant installations.

The competency-based training program even includes a test-out quiz to gauge user knowledge of the module content and features a certifi cate of completion that can be printed at the conclusion of the program. And, while ‘paper’ is often important, Stahl says that the training itself is far more important.

“Our goal is to ensure that we help facilitate the education that is so vital to proper installation. We believe that our distance learning program is a great start that supplements the experience that comes with actual hands-on installation of the products.”

“Knowledge is the key to compliant installations. When the workers installing the products have a more comprehensive understanding as to the importance, we believe they will ensure the systems are installed correctly. We also know that video and images can tell the story in a more compelling manner than black-and-white instruction sheets, so there is that element, too. For the surveyors inspecting for compliance, there is the familiarity with seeing compliant installations, and the specific knowledge as to what constitutes compliance.”

– James P. Stahl Jr., STI Marine Firestop

Vice President & General Manager


For any participant who has previously installed a marine penetration sealing system or cable transit, transitioning to the use of STI Marine products will not be a far departure and proficiency with physical installation may be faster. For people who are new to installing these types of systems and materials, the training focuses on proper techniques and dispenses helpful advice that will increase proficiency.

As yard personnel begin installing the products and systems, proficiency will quickly increase. For surveyors, the training helps ensure that transits, cables and plugs not only look good; they’ll also perform in an emergency as intended. Whether for a brand-new installer or an installer who has experience, but not with STI Marine products, this training will help. U.S. flag operators and boatyards now have another domestic resource – not just for hardware, but also, for peace of mind.