Ensure your crew are protected from fire risk.

New data from the Liberian Register

New data from the Liberian Register has highlighted that fire is still a major threat to life, to those in the shipping industry.

Ensuring that the crew are protected from risk is paramount. Tragically fire at sea still claims lives that it should not. Between 2018-2018, 7 people tragically lost their life to fire. Scott Bergeron, CEO of the Liberian Registry quotes “It is vital that we share and talk about this information and that we continue to highlight where improvements need to be made

This comes as EMSA released a report in November 2018, that 25% of accidents on Ro-Ro’s are fire related. According to Lloyds List, almost 10% of all total losses at sea in the last decade were caused by a fire on board.

How to protect your crew

This is unacceptable, with the advanced technology and engineering in 2018, the crew must be protected from fire. Yet gaseous extinguishing systems which are installed onto ships to protect crew in the event of a fire, are not a final solution. Because gaseous extinguishing systems are highly pressurised, the risk of leaking and discharging is accepted as part of their use and this is shown in the regulations that demand their upkeep.

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.”

In 2018, the ABS released advice that there have been multiple cases reported in which CO2 cylinders in fixed fire systems have been found empty. Because of this, ABS have recommended that all shipowners need to conduct a risk assessment of their CO2 systems. Following this, the Italian Coastguard in a communication to its members stated that: “To prevent an unexpected release of CO2 into the work environment, it is established that companies perform, a specific and documented risk assessment, aimed at outlining any necessary measures to protect workers' health and safety.

Some marine service companies estimate that 20% of a ship’s CO2 cylinders have discharged or partially leaked their contents at some point in their lifetime also know that occasionally marine “servicing companies” unintentionally leave it disabled.

If the gaseous extinguishing systems are partially empty, due to leakage or discharge, they will not be available in the event of a fire. This a risk that no shipping company can afford, both with the cost of life and cost of vessel loss.

What is the solution?

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 ABS Type Approved Portalevel® MAX Marine & Portamarine® ultrasonic liquid level indicators, as radioactive units were being phased out. The Portalevel® MAX MARINE allows crew to implement IMO SOLAS FSS codes by testing safely and quickly (just 30-60 seconds per cylinder).

The Portalevel® MAX Marine allows the crew to be in charge of checking the CO2 systems, as many times as needed: ensuring that the systems will be working when they are needed.

  • ABS Type Approved Portalevel® MAX Marine is designed primarily for the vessels’ crew to inspect large fire suppression systems of up to 600 cylinders.
  • The ease of operation in comparison to weighing, increases the ability of more regular and frequent checks, improving fire safety management onboard.
  • Coltraco’s innovative method of inspecting leaking cylinders with ultrasonics, enables identification in under 30 seconds using Portalevel® with one person, instead of the traditional 15 minutes, with two people laboriously weighing.

Combined with the MAX Marine, The Portasteele® Calculator is an advanced  application, that converts the liquid level height of C02, NOVEC™ 1230 and FM-200® liquefied gaseous extinguishant agent readings taken on a Portalevel® device into the agent weight/mass.  The Portasteele® CALCULATOR can convert an expected agent weight back to the required liquid level allowing users to anticipate where the level should be

Shipping must continue in its mission to improve safety of life at sea, for the crew’s protection. It’s time to conduct your risk assessment and start maintaining your gaseous extinguishing systems. Choose the quickest, easiest and effective way to maintain your fire systems: The Portalevel® MAX Marine and Portasteele® CALCULATOR.

Coltraco Ultrasonics’ mission delivering Safeship® solutions to improve safety of life, assets and vessels at sea. They do by manufacturing high quality British instrumentation, supplied to over 100 countries worldwide, since 1987.

Discover more about Coltraco Ultrasonics’ commitment to customer care and safety on www.coltraco.com.

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