Time Is Safety

Economic pressures do tend however to shipping companies to source contracts with Marine services cheaply and some of these companies bid to service a ships CO2 system at the most economical cost, sometimes meaning that there have been cases of inadequate work being performed, inadequate time allocated for the statutory certification check of the ships fire system and often caused by under-skilled and untrained servicing crews conducting manual cylinder weighing. This places the ships fire extinguishing system at risk of potential discharge from the high pressure (720 psi) during cylinder maintenance and if the cylinders have not been checked for correct CO2 agent fill weights may not give a full release when required.

Time is an important factor: to dismantle and weigh and re-install a 45KG CO2 cylinder can take 30-40 minutes. If a ship has several hundred cylinders it is difficult to imagine how this can take less than 3-4 days rather than the 3-4 hours some ships are tested in. Of every 100 cylinders it is estimated that 3-4 will have discharged completely and another 3-4 leaked partially particularly in ships older than 2 years old. Using a Portalevel™ each cylinder can be tested in 30 seconds and without shutting down and dismantling.

These economic pressures also affect ultrasonic watertight integrity testing in which low cost methods such as chalk compression and high pressure hose testing are most common, yet cannot give any indication of erosion points in a seal or areas which may give way under pressure and nor can be used when the vessel is at sea. The economic costs of the damage that could be caused to a vessel and cargo far outweighs the costs of a thorough test. The SOLAS Code suggests that on passenger ships there should be weekly watertight integrity inspections while the ship is at sea (Reg II-1/21.3).

Coltraco Ultrasonics understands the essential nature of safety assurance, and have a range of ultrasonic technology which provides non-invasive complete watertight and cylinder surveying on any vessel.

Having a Portalevel™ unit aboard each vessel is not an option for ship owners. The Portalevel MAX Marine is designed to test the contents of ships CO2 and NOVEC™1230 fire extinguishing cylinders in under 30 seconds. With an accuracy of up to +/- 1.5mm or 1/8” and the ability to measure multi-bank rows 2-4 deep, the Portalevel™ Max Marine is ideal for service companies inspecting large fire suppression systems in place of the statutory annual certification check by a licensed marine servicing company. Having a Portalevel™ on-board also means that ships are able to comply with IMO SOLAS FSS code ( MEANS SHALL BE PROVIDED FOR THE CREW TO SAFELY CHECK THE QUANTITY OF FIRE-EXTINGUISHING MEDIUM IN THE CONTAINERS) as the ship’s crew can test the contents of their CO2 and NOVEC cylinders in-between the annual certification checks.

The Portasteele™ Calculator transforms the liquid level height of C02 NOVEC™ 123, FM-200™and other liquefied gaseous readings taken on the UL-listed Portalevel® MAX Marine device into weight/mass. This advanced technology is supplied on a stand-alone 7” computer-tablet which makes these calculations in real time. The Portasteele™ has the ability to save frequently used cylinder sizes and settings and export collected testing data directly via email.

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