ABS reports CO2 Systems Leak: Time To Conduct Your Risk Assessments

ABS have reported multiple cases in which CO2 cylinders in fixed fire systems were found empty and thus would not be able to suppress a fire event. ABS have hence recommended that all shipowners need to conduct a risk assessment of their CO2 systems.

As per the Ministero delle Infrastrutture e dei Trasporti: “In considerazione delle necessità di assicurare la continua funzionalità del richiamato sistema antincendio di tipo fisso e di prevenire un inatteso rilascio di CO2 nell’ambiente di lavoro, si dispone che  - codeste Società eseguano, per le unità gestite che risultano dotate del predetto impianto, una specifica e documentata valutazione del rischio, tesa a delineare eventuali, necessari interventi per la tutela della sicurezza e della salute dei lavoratori..”


Why do CO2 fire system cylinders leak?

  • Approximately 20% of a ship’s CO2 cylinders may have discharged or partially leaked
  • If the contents are not there, they will not extinguish in a fire event
  • A ship’s gaseous extinguishing system typically comprises between 200 and 600 cylinders each containing 45KG of CO2 under high 720 psi/ 49 bar pressure
  • The risk of leaking and discharging is accepted as part of their use because gaseous extinguishing systems are highly pressurised
  • This is shown in IMO SOLAS & FSS Code Chapter - “Means shall be provided for the crew to safely check the quantity of the fire extinguishing medium in the containers.”

What is the solution?

ABS Type Approved Portalevel® MAX Marine ultrasonic liquid level indicator

  • BETTER – most accurate unit on the market +/- 1.5mm & safer as no need to turn off the system or dismantle the cylinders
  • FASTER - combined with the MAX Marine, the Portasteele® CALCULATOR is an advanced app, that converts the liquid level of C02 into the agent weight/mass
  • CHEAPER – just one person needed to test safely and quickly (just 30 seconds per cylinder)

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