Avoid Accidental Discharge of Contents

To extinguish a fire, ships need:

  1. the correct amount of gas in the fire suppression system cylinders to extinguish the fire
  2. compartmentation integrity to starve the fire of oxygen
  3. pipework integrity to ensure the gas discharges correctly

To ensure vessels sail safely these points must be implemented, meaning:

  1. the crew must have the means to test the cylinder content themselves ie. liquid level indicator, as the crew is not qualified to traditionally weigh
  2. there is a need to educate the crew about fire engineering to protect against risk of CO2 actuation in manned areas and to ensure compartmentation etc

As stated in IMO SOLAS FSS Ch5. “Means shall be provided for the crew to safely check the quantity of the fire extinguishing medium in the container”. Often this is misunderstood, this code specifically states that the crew must test their extinguishing installations in between the periodic inspection, maintenance and certification. Only having the annual inspection by accredited marine servicing companies is not enough – the crew must take responsibility for their own fire protection.  However, what must be noted is that the crew are often not trained or certified to shut-down, dismantle, weigh and re-install the gaseous cylinders. To overcome this, ships need to test their CO2 & marine CO2 systems for contents in-between the annual certification checks by marine servicing companies. Using an ultrasonic liquid level indicator is the only way that the crew can safely test their CO2 without disturbing them. Coltraco Ultrasonics designed the Portalevel® handheld ultrasonic liquid level indicators, because radioactive units were being phased out. If shipping companies implemented the IMO SOLAS FSS codes by testing safely and quickly (just 30-60 seconds per cylinder) by using liquid level indicators and marine servicing companies were able to do their work without allowing for time pressures, then marine safety would be far safer.

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