Extracts taken from article by Captain Richard Madden, The Maritime Executive – 12th February 2017
There have been two disabling engine room fires in the past month. The first was MV Alliance St. Louis, a RO-RO in the Gulf of Mexico and the most recent was MV Thorco Crown, a multi-purpose vessel, off Newfoundland. Both incidents resulted in the vessels being disabled, requiring commercial towing assistance to reach port.
It is time, yet again, to review some of the best practices for preventing fires onboard – in particular, in the engine room. Chances are, your monthly SMS inspection and drills checklist has a box for exactly this check-mark. Use the time and talk about the items below. Take a walk around your main space and see what might be slipping through the cracks – literally and figuratively. Or, will you be the third ship?
Best Practices for Preventing Engine Room Fires [We highlight 2 of his 9 steps]
4. Properly maintain and use fire screen doors. Quite frequently, fire screen doors are tied open to allow easy passage during daily duties. Unfortunately, they are also frequently left that way day after day. Even tying them open for a short period of time should be avoided, as fires can happen at the most inopportune time – such as when the fire screen door is tied open.
8. Inspect and test fixed firefighting systems on a routine basis. Systems such as sprinkler or HI-FOG systems must be maintained in a mode where they will be automatically activated. Too often, they are found with valves closed after maintenance or due to concerns about leakage.
Let’s be safe out there!