An Introduction to the IMO 2010 FTP Code

Insights for Shipbuilding Products Manufacturers

28 September 2021

Materials used in maritime applications need to be tested for fire safety for a variety of considerations such as flammability, spread, smoke, and more. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) developed fire safety regulations, including the Fire Test Procedures (FTP) Code. The IMO 2010 FTP Code contains fire test procedures, most of which have been harmonized with similar ISO standards.  These requirements and their tests apply to a variety of products used in shipbuilding of international seagoing ships for compliance with the fire safety requirements of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended. Product categories each have a dedicated section, or "Part," of the code.

Part 1 addresses non-combustibility. Test procedures are similar to those found in ISO 1182, where five samples are tested in a tube furnace and exposed to 750°C temperature for 30 minutes.  Control measurements for moisture content, organic content, and density are also required.

Part 2 focuses on smoke and toxicity for surface materials for bulkheads, linings, or ceilings; floor coverings; primary deck coverings; and plastic pipes. The test method is similar to ISO 5659-2 at three heat exposure conditions on at least three samples for each test condition. Toxicity is also measured with requirements for maximum concentrations for several substances including carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen fluoride, nitrous oxide, hydrogen bromide, hydrogen cyanide, and sulfur dioxide. 

Part 3 relates to testing for "A," "B," and "F" class divisions for a variety of products: structural insulation, deck assemblies, continuous ceilings, bulkhead panels, windows, fire doors, cable penetrations, pipe penetrations, duct penetrations, and dampers. Acceptable levels and test criteria vary based upon product type and class division.  This is a fire resistance test with requirements for integrity and insulation.

Part 4 covers fire door control systems where the door is tested in a furnace at 200°C for 60 minutes while operating (opening and closing).  The test is then continued with temperatures increasing to 945°C following the standard ISO time-temperature curve.

Part 5 centers on flammability for surface materials for bulkheads, walls, and ceilings; floor coverings; primary deck coverings; insulation for cold service systems; and adhesives used for "A," "B," and "F" class divisions. A minimum of three samples is assessed for critical flux at extinguishment (flame spread), heat for sustained burning, total heat release, maximum heat release rate, and in some cases, burning droplets produced.

Part 6 of the code was intentionally left blank.

Part 7 applies to vertically supported textiles, such as curtains or draperies. It includes discretionary pre-test exposure conditions for non-inherent "flameproof" materials. Tests must be done in warp and weft direction and include surface ignition tests, edge ignition tests, and flaming drops. Failures points are included for afterflame time, burn-through to edges, ignition of cotton wool, average char, and surface flash.

Parts 8 and 9 both use smoldering cigarette tests and propane flame tests.  Part 8 covers upholstered furniture and Part 9 focuses on bedding components such as blankets, pillows, quilts/bedspreads, and mattresses. For both parts, no progressive smoldering or flaming ignition can occur.

Parts 10 and 11 are specific to high-speed crafts. Part 10 relates to fire-restricting materials, specifically surface materials on bulkheads, wall and ceiling linings and materials used for furniture and other components. Part 11 is for fire-resisting divisions and includes criteria for fire-resisting properties. It includes criteria for insulation and integrity.

Approvals under the code include type approvals, granted for products that will be manufactured continuously (in the same manner as tested samples) with testing conducted by approved laboratory and quality control system audited by competent authority. Case-by-case approvals are also possible for specific ships, and also require testing by an approved lab. Government administrations, such as the U.S. Coast Guard, or delegated competent authorities (e.g., European Notified Bodies), issue type approvals. Mutual recognition agreements allow for products approved in one country or region to be accepted in others.

The IMO 2010 FTP Code is quite complex given the number of products it applies to and the various testing requirements and criteria. It is important for manufacturers to understand the requirements when developing products. Download our webinar recording for a more in-depth look at the code, testing parameters and set up, and criteria.


Juan Manuel Flores, P.E.,
Assistant Chief Engineer


Juan Manuel Flores has 19 years of experience in fire testing and certification.  He has served as an industry advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the IMO Sub-Committee on Fire Protection for work associated with the IMO 2010 FTP Code.  He is an active member of ASTM E05 Committee on Fire Standards and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Texas.