Fixed CO2 Fire Extinguishing Systems – When your hoses aren’t right you might lose the firefight

 

Recently, Coast Guard marine inspectors discovered critical deficiencies onboard a containership with its fixed CO2 fire extinguishing system. The conditions associated with the CO2 system may have prevented the system from operating correctly or, if not discovered, the system may not have operated at all in an emergency situation.

During the inspection, it was noted that some of the hoses which connected the large CO2 cylinders to the manifolds were wrapped around the bottle valve handles as shown in photographs A and B.   The bottles could have been in place for a long period of time, in their original positions without regard to the stresses placed on the connecting hoses.  However, experts in Fixed CO2 System Servicing have indicated that service personnel routinely find loose bottles which have rotated over a period of time.  The experts expressed that photographs A and B represented extreme cases of rotation.  The service personnel also stated that “four bottle deep” manifold systems were atypical and may have contributed to an inability to maintain tightness.

These bottles should have been clamped tightly in place by the use of wooden brackets as displayed in photograph C.  Wooden spacers in between the rows of bottles can also be used to ensure proper securing of all the bottles.

Inspectors also found significant cracking of the CO2 discharge hoses which were under tension as shown in photograph D. This condition is known as ozone cracking and occurs when very small amounts of ozone in the atmosphere interact with the polymers that compose rubber products and certain other elastomers when those products are under tension.

As a result of the inspection the vessel was detained until these and other identified deficiencies identified were corrected.  During a reinspection of the vessel to clear the deficiencies, it was discovered that the servicing organization that replaced  the hoses, installed several new hoses in a similar orientation that maintained excessive stress on the hoses.  That issue was subsequently rectified by rotating the bottles.

In June of 2009 the IMO released MSC.1/Cir.1318, titled “GUIDELINES FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND INSPECTIONS OF FIXED CARBON DIOXIDE FIRE-EXTINGUISHING SYSTEMS.”  It provides the minimum recommended level of maintenance and inspections for fixed carbon dioxide fire-extinguishing systems on all ships in order to demonstrate that the system is kept in good working order as specified in SOLAS regulation II-2/14.2.1.2.  In addition to other important information, it provides useful maintenance and inspection guidance.

One related monthly inspection item suggests checking that all “high pressure cylinders are in place and properly secured.”

The Coast Guard strongly recommends that vessel owners and operators obtain MSC.1/Cir.1318 for distribution to their fleets.  In addition, each vessel’s Safety Management System should incorporate the Circular’s pertinent data.  Public users can establish a free account to access the Circular and other important information at https://docs.imo.org/.  The Coast Guard also urges owners and operators to ensure the following steps are taken for each fixed CO2 system:

* Bottle installation must be accomplished carefully considering hose and actuator positioning in addition to ensuring stress is minimized for each hose.  Securing devices must be inspected for effectiveness.

*  Vessel crewmembers should check for bottle rotation, loose bottles, and excessive stress on discharge hoses during periodic inspections of fixed CO2 systems.  All appropriate safety precautions should be completed prior to taking any actions to re-secure or reposition CO2 cylinders.

This information has been provided by the Marine Inspectors at USCG Marine Safety Detachment, Lake Worth.   This Safety Alert is provided for informational purposes only and does not relieve any domestic or international safety, operational or material requirement.  Developed with assistance of the Marine Safety Detachment, Lake Worth and distributed by the Office of Investigations and Casualty Analysis, Washington DC.  Questions may be sent to HQS-PF-fldr-CG-INV@uscg.mil.

 

View PDF (includes photos)

 

 

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Sea Education Association is offering USCG approved training courses November-December at their Falmouth, MA campus.  Space is still available in all courses although a few of the courses are filling up quickly.   Housing is available on campus free of charge and members of Tall Ships America receive a 10% discount on course tuition.  Not a member? Become one today!

Course offerings and dates are described here (PDF).

On behalf of the inspections office Sector Southern New England, please read the below announcement:

My office has recently received reports of commercial entities directly contacting vessel owners and offering to manage the Certificate of Documentation renewal process for a fee. Some of the notices these companies send could lead a vessel owner to believe the correspondence is coming directly from the Coast Guard’s National Vessel Documentation Center (NYDC). These companies are also present in internet search results for the NVDC and for Certificate of Documentation renewal.

While using these companies is an option, the Coast Guard does not endorse any of them, and they do not operate on behalf of the Coast Guard in any way. Any fees charged or agreements offered by such companies are in no way associated with the NYDC certification process, and these companies are not authorized to issue official NY DC Certificates of Documentation or any other forms of documentation that permit operation of a vessel.

The NVDC, located in Falling Waters, West Virginia, is the only entity authorized to issue Certificates of Documentation (CODs). This documentation is required for vessels engaged in commercial trade and is optional for vessels five net tons and over engaged in recreational use/activities. Persons interested in conducting business directly with NYDC should visit https://www.uscg.mil/nvdc/.

Persons interested in conducting business directly with NYDC should visit the official NYDC website or contact the NVDC at (800) 799-8362 or (304) 271-2400. Phone hours are 9:00 a.m. to 3 :00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Phones are not manned on Thursdays.

Certificate of Documentation renewal requests are accepted at VDC-PF-NYDCRENEW ALS@USCG.MIL.

Questions regarding the information in this bulletin should be directed to my Prevention Department at (207) 899-6279 or SecNNE-Prevention-Domestic@uscg.mil .

Read the official announcement here (PDF)

The Federal Agency Quality Work (FAQWG) Group Port-Wide Industry Day will be held on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the Baltimore Cruise Ship Terminal located at 2001 McComas Street, Baltimore, MD 21230. This event will be held in conjunction with an Agency Trade Fair where agencies and groups will have tables and displays representing their individual operations. Scheduled to attend are the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Department of Transportation (DOT), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Department of Agriculture (USDA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Maryland Port Administration, the Baltimore Development Corporation, and others.

The FAQWG Port-Wide Industry Day is designed as an informal exchange of information between Federal agencies and marine industry stakeholders to exchange ideas and information in order to facilitate safe, secure, and environmentally sound maritime commerce. Presentations will address both local and national issues that impact the marine transportation system.

Read full press release (PDF)

 

Sector Southeastern New England
PASSENGER VESSEL INDUSTRY DAY
March 21, 2017 (0830-1230)

LOCATION: UMASS Advanced Technology & Manufacturing Center
151 Martine Street, Fall River, MA 02723
PH: (508) 910-9800

*********Please park in the lot across the street from the building*********

SCHEDULE:

0830  Introductions & Logistics: Mr. Carl Moberg
0845  Opening Remarks: CAPT Richard Schultz, Sector Commander
0855  Vessel Inspection/Investigation Updates: LCDR Steve Stowers/ LT  Plummer
0930  Break
0945  Waterways Management Updates: Mr. Ed LeBlanc
1015    Small Passenger Vessel Risk Based Inspection Matrix
1030   Case Studies: Rule 5 “LOOK-OUT” CWO Johnathan Shipperly
1100   Break
1110    Mariner Credentials/Regional Exam Center Updates: Mr. Nick Petronzio
1135    Question and Answer
1140   Closing Remarks: CAPT Richard Schultz, Sector Commander
1145    End all inclusive industry day Agenda
1155    Sailing vessel break out session ‘NVIC 02-16” are you in compliance? 

WHO SHOULD ATTEND:

  • Owner, Operators, and Crew Members of inspected passenger vessels / school ships.
  • Other parties with an interest in the passenger vessel industry.Parties involved in the construction and repair of certificated passenger vessels.
  • For further information or questions, please contact CWO Sydney Glass at Sydney.Glass@uscg.mil or (401) 435-2315.

Via Bryant’s Maritime Blog

The US Coast Guard issued a bulletin stating that it will follow the IMO recommendation calling for port state control (PSC) authorities to take a pragmatic and practical approach to enforcement of the 2010 amendments to the STCW Convention regarding seafarer certification. This deferred enforcement until 1 July is appropriate because training institutions are having difficulty in training all the seafarers for updated requirements. (1/5/17)

Read the bulletin here

Merchant Mariner Credential Processing Delays Update

The National Maritime Center (NMC) continues to experience a greater-than-average volume of applications for Merchant Mariner Credentials (MMC). This bulletin outlines actions to be taken for U.S. mariners holding national and STCW endorsements.