Understand and Apply Standards in the Maritime Industry

Shipping, Naval and Oil and Gas are all safety critical sectors which can have catastrophic and expensive results in the event of fire.

The size of vessels and the on-board technology have been subject to a constant process of optimization. But safety measures, in particular in respect of fire protection, have been left lagging behind in the face of ever bigger, ever better container ships. Fire protection has been largely untouched due to the fact that cargo is more commonly being transported in containers rather than as bulk cargo, and has been for decades. The current firefighting facilities remain inadequate in the face of the capacity of such vessels. Fire therefore remains an ever-present risk on the high seas.

Are pressurised liquefied gases or non-liquefied gases that are pressurised on actuation. CO2 is permanently under 720 psi or 49 bar of pressure ie nearly 50 times atmospheric pressure (by comparison a cup of water at sea level exists at 1 bar or 14.5 psi). Its state changes under increased temperatures to one that is neither a liquid nor a gas. Gases under pressure are often effectively considered by the industry as single and passive cylinder columns of solid material from the perspective of their monitoring following installation. Whereas being under pressure and constantly changing under temperature they should be considered as active and dynamic systems requiring constant monitoring. These are not passive systems therefore; they are dynamic ones, and all dynamic systems under pressure need constant monitoring.

Anecdotal experiences –

  • Safety pins being retained in position in the cylinder valves after installation.
  • Marine CO2 systems with 20% of the CO2 cylinders installed on commercial shipping being empty or partially filled.
  • Over-filled and under-filled cylinders.
  • Pipework and cylinders freshly painted but with severe internal corrosion.
  • Room integrity testing with questionable results and with the room integrity remaining un-monitored after testing.
  • Liquefied extinguishants being confused by installers with Inert gas systems.
  • There exists a lack of understanding of the organic compounds of some liquid extinguishants and their corrosive effect on the cylinder in the event of condensate ingress.
  • Shipping companies not implementing the FSS code of the IMO SOLAS regulations.
  • We have been regularly asked how to operate portable Portalevel™ liquid level indicators on dry powder extinguishers.

Marine servicing companies bid to service a ships CO2 & marine CO2 systems; this can comprise 200-600 x 45KG CO2 cylinders per ship. These are under high 720 psi/ 50 bar pressure. They can discharge accidentally. One of the highest probabilities of discharge occurs during their maintenance. Some service companies estimate that at one time 20% of a ships CO2 cylinders have discharged or partially leaked their contents and there are over 55,000 commercial vessels at sea at any time. On average each cylinder will take 40 minutes to dismantle, weigh, record and re-install. Too many times therefore good servicing companies may not have the physical time to perform the inspection required.

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