The Danger of CO2 Loss


The danger of CO2 loss is highlighted by Carl Stephen Patrick Hunter, CEO of Coltraco Ultrasonics who has 30 years’ experience in the shipping and offshore industry: “We estimate that 20% of ships are sailing with a loss of CO2, due to high pressurisation leakage or accidental discharge. This inevitably means that the design concentration of the CO2 will be insufficient to control fire.”
Here are the key reasons why investing in effective, integrated fire protection systems, and in training the crew to inspect these systems is worthwhile:

  • Once CO2 fire suppression systems are installed, it is mandatory to test the systems at least once a year by a certified marine servicing company
  • What is less known is that the regulations also demand that the vessels must have “means shall be provided for the crew to safely check the quantity of the fire extinguishing medium in the containers” in between regulatory checks – IMO SOLAS FSS
  • The reason for this is that CO2 is stored under high pressure. This means the agent can leak out the cylinder or accidentally discharge. If it leaks there may be insufficient agent to put out a fire event (scientifically speaking this means “below their design concentration”). So it is important to test the cylinders to ascertain the correct fill of CO2.
  • Traditionally this has been ascertained by manual weighing which requires the system to be switched off, and thus not protecting the ship for the duration of inspection, then each cylinder has to be dismantled from the manifold, requiring two people to carry the cylinder (45KG CO2 fill usually) onto a weigh scale then returned and recoupled etc which can 15 minutes.
  • Considering the average ship may have 600 cylinders, and a ship may only be in port for 4 hours, the need for speed is paramount to conduct rigorous inspection of each cylinder.
  • Today you can use portable ultrasonic liquid level indicators, Portalevel® MAX, to check the fill level of agent takes one person and just 30 seconds. If weight is still the preferred result, a calculator can convert the level to weight in 30 seconds by an intuitive tablet app, the Portasteele® CALCULATOR.

Keywords: Portalevel Max 8th, Liquid Level Indicator, Ultrasonic Level Sensor, CO2 Fire Suppression System, Liquid Gas Level Indicator, Ultrasonic Leak Detector, Liquid Level Sensor, Ultrasonic Monitoring and Measuring Equipment

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