CO2 fire suppession system failure cited in Carnival Splendor engineroom fire

shamrock
23rd December 2010, 14:33
The USCG have issued urgent recommendations regarding testing & installation of CO2 fire suppression systems after the Carnival Splendor engineroom fire....

Splendor's system failed to go off automatically and it still failed when attempts to set it off manually....

http://homeport.uscg.mil/cgi-bin/st/portal/uscg_docs/MyCG/Editorial/20101221/10afinal.pdf?id=b06ccf0ed27ff79982ce8ffc4150bc5ee4 7f7d80

http://homeport.uscg.mil/cgi-bin/st/portal/uscg_docs/MyCG/Editorial/20101221/10bfinal.pdf?id=de6cc7b0bcfd14589d289549ae1ebbce9f bb8f81

The report into the cause of the fire is still ongoing but the failed system is significant enough for the USCG to send out warnings to all ship operators & owners.

Looks like on this occasion, Carnival were extremely lucky that the fire did not take hold before the crew went in and used other means of extinguishing it.

JoK
23rd December 2010, 14:37
I'm curious how you know this is the Splendor fire?

Satanic Mechanic
23rd December 2010, 14:39
AUTOMATIC CO2!!!!!!!!!(EEK) - you have to be kidding


Problems with CO2 installations - shockerooni

I hear the next USCG circulars are

1. Popes Religion
2. Bear Toilet Habits

shamrock
23rd December 2010, 14:41
I'm curious how you know this is the Splendor fire?

USCG issues fire safety alerts from on-going Splendor inquiry
Wednesday, 22 December 2010 11:52
The US Coast Guard issued two safety alerts related to CO2 fire suppression systems that spring from the on-going investigation of Carnival Splendor’s engine room fire.

The alerts advise a review of fixed firefighting installations to ensure they will operate correctly during an emergency and a review of supporting firefighting systems documentation and instructions to ensure clarity and a match with the actual installation.

Seatrade Insider understands the alerts have been circulated throughout the Cruise Lines International Association membership, and they are taking action. The entire maritime industry has been asked to review the recommendations.

They spring from a machinery space fire on board an unnamed ‘relatively new vessel’ that was ‘effectively responded to and extinguished by the vessel’s quick response team firefighters using portable extinguishing equipment.

‘However, before it was declared completely extinguished and approximately five hours after the fire started, the master of the vessel made the decision to release CO2 from the vessel’s fixed firefighting system. It failed to operate as designed,’ USCG continued.

‘Subsequently, crew members were unable to activate it manually and CO2 was never directed into the machinery space.’

In one alert, USCG noted ‘numerous piping and hose connections leaked extensively’ and a zone valve for the aft machinery space which admits CO2 from the bottle bank manifold to the space failed. Other issues included loose actuating arms to a number of zone valves, corrosion within piping and malfunctioning CO2 system pilot and co-pilot bottles.

USCG noted the system had been recently serviced and inspected by an authorized service provider.

The alert advised builders, owners, classification societies and other relevant parties to ‘carefully and critically review, routinely inspect and maintain, verify and test their fixed firefighting installations to ensure that they will operate correctly during an emergency.’

In the other alert, USCG noted the shipyard commissioning test procedures appear to differ from procedures documented in the vessel’s Firefighting Instruction Manual (FIM). Commissioning procedures indicate the discharge line selection to a specific protected zone should be made prior to releasing the gas, contrary to the directions in the FIM.

Also, the FIM refers extensively to a control panel that differs vastly from the one on board the vessel. The FIM also incorrectly uses the word ‘pull’ when it should read ‘turn’ in reference to the operations of valves, and states that the CO2 release station is on the starboard side of the vessel when it is located on the port side.

Other ‘confusing language’ and drawings and schematics that don’t match the actual installation are noted.

These findings led USCG to advise the maritime sector to ‘ensure that all supporting documentation, piping schematics, plans, manuals, component labeling and instructions are consistent with each other and relevant to the systems, equipment and components installed on board the vessel.’

http://www.cruise-community.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4633&catid=910&Itemid=69

Nick Balls
23rd December 2010, 14:56
Like SM ..Automatic Co2 System!!!!!!!!!!!!! scary!!
However we did have one engine room fire a number of years ago where the system used to activate the pilot bottles failed to work despite the fact that it had recently been fully serviced inspected and passed. Only half the main system then worked with the consequence that the engine room was totally destroyed (Nearly lost the ship)

Satanic Mechanic
23rd December 2010, 15:07
Its ok folks - it wasn't automatic phewww+++

I think the USCG meant 'local' instead of manual!!!!

As per Nick - not a new story, total git of a system to maintain

david freeman
23rd December 2010, 15:09
Interesting Stuff. Automatic CO2? Is this the main engine room of a subsiduary engine room machinery space? Is the CO2 Bottle bank located in one space with central controls, and designated CO2 Bottles from the main bank dependant from or to which space the CO2 Gas is being directed. I.E. 25 Bottles to a main space and only 5 should we say of those bottle to an auxilay space (For Instance), or 10 to a boiler space? The idea/risk being that only one fire can occurr in one compartment at a time (God Willing), and that the total CO2 bottle bank only covers the larges space? Who checks the checkers!
CO2 is an extinguishing gas not a suppressant like water mist or 'Halon'-I think I am right?

Satanic Mechanic
23rd December 2010, 15:14
Its illegal to have automatic CO2 - its too lethal

G0SLP
23rd December 2010, 15:31
Mmm, leaking pipes & valves - I had to use CO2 flooding about 7 years ago - operated from remote station, but the CO2 room itself then flooded, stopping entry to it, as did our emergency generator flat, as well as the ER. Fortunately the fire did go out, but we lost the em. gen for a few hours whilst we defrosted it... Found several bottle hose connections slack, & a piece of jointing holding the em. gen zone valve partly open...

The system had just been overhauled & signed off by a certain worldwide supplier of gases, chemicals, tools, compressors etc etc in a major US port too - they denied all responsibility, of course...

We were VERY lucky.

I am now, whilst not actually paranoid about bottle hose coupling integrity etc on a fixed CO2 system, pretty keen on checking it immediately on joining a ship, and also after any so-called 'experts' have been working on it.

Billieboy
23rd December 2010, 15:38
Its illegal to have automatic CO2 - its too lethal

That is quite correct!

It seems to me that there is a USCG manual problem similar to the recent oil field spill in the Mex Gulf, where statements were made in the manuals about Polar Bears and Seals. Could this Port and Starboard cock-up be related to the costs of re-writing a manual for the second or third of a series of vessels?

Much easier to change just the front page, who is going to read the book anyway?

shamrock
23rd December 2010, 15:52
Since the site where the PDF's from the USCG keeps timing out...

http://homeport.uscg.mil/mycg/portal/ep/home.do

Scroll down to Alerts & Notices & click on '# New CO2 SYSTEM SAFETY ALERTS'

Splendor is barely a couple of years old, it seems very strange that the system failed like it did...or do they fail more often than people realise?

The rest of the Carnival fleet have been checked, other cruise lines are following suit...am I right in thinking that everything that has this system, regardless of ship type, will be checked too?

Nick Balls
23rd December 2010, 15:59
As per my earlier post the problem we had was poor maintenance by a shore contractor..... Strangely enough the fire was also attributed to a missing clamp which had been removed at the previous dry dock and not reinstalled correctly afterwards. With regard to fire fighting equipment this is not the first time I have seen shoddy workmanship from accredited people and with a ship board maintenance plan also in place have luckily been able to pick up on a few very dangerous problems in between the required shore service.

Satanic Mechanic
23rd December 2010, 16:28
Just while were on the subject - there is a school of thought that says fixed fire fighting systems are a last resort, they are not - the are first attack systems.

Nick Balls
23rd December 2010, 16:41
Good point,
The fire I alluded to earlier was only stopped by the very fast reactions of the engineer on watch and the ships crew who knew exactly which vents to close and how to operate the Co2.......while the system failed to operate fully it was only these quick actions that saved the ship. The very frightening speed with which events occurred fully agrees with SM , that these systems are first attack.

surfaceblow
23rd December 2010, 18:25
The Marine Link article had a listing of the issues with the CO2 system included leaks, valves failed to operate correctly (a operating arm fell off) in fact there were a number of the operating arms that were loose. The string sealant used on the pipe threads have entered the system. Plus the main issue was that the system was recently serviced and inspected "by an authorized service provider".

http://www.marinelink.com/news/inoperative-failures336547.aspx

Joe

McCloggie
23rd December 2010, 18:35
Just while were on the subject - there is a school of thought that says fixed fire fighting systems are a last resort, they are not - the are first attack systems.

Certainly in the FPSO world, the accepted philosphy for these emergencies is to get people back into the Temporary Refuge and let the fixed FF systems do their job. It is clearly stated by all the companies I have been with that people only fight small fires and only if they can do so without risk to themselves.

Having said that on a previous job we had a huge arguement with one of the design engineers who proposed CO2 for the manned areas. When told this was not on he asked why and I told him that he would probably kill somebody. His reply was that if Operations employed crew that were too stupid to get out of the compartment when the alarm went off that was not his fault!

A constructive meeting as you can see.

McC

Billieboy
23rd December 2010, 19:49
The rest of the Carnival fleet have been checked, other cruise lines are following suit...am I right in thinking that everything that has this system, regardless of ship type, will be checked too?

CO2 Firefighting Systems on ships are covered by SOLAS regulations. In the USA and on cruise ships using US ports, by USCG. Usually it is an annual inspection and certification. SOLAS is a point for State Ship Inspection and can be checked at any time a vessel enters port. I've had quite a few run-ins over CO2 gear where the Master/Owner says one thing and the Port Inspector says what must be done! Master and Owners suddenly understand the problem when the bailiff arrives and puts the ship under arrest!

Satanic Mechanic
23rd December 2010, 19:57
A constructive meeting as you can see.

McC

Indeed one liable to end in the word "ouch"

Shamrock FYI

They do have something of a rep for bad/no maintenance for a number of reasons amongst which are,

1. Scared to go anywhere near it: these systems can be activated with annoying ease if you don't know what your doing with potentially lethal results - so there is a tendency to just leave them alone and get a contractor in once a year.

2. Complicated System: there are trips , alarms, split systems, overides, gang releases, auto valves - extremely easy to overlook one after maintenance

3. Big systems - faced with several hundred/ thousand CO2 cylinders even the most stoic individuals can be overcome with sheer tedium after the first couple of days weighing the damn things

4.Testing the system: just say "Please God dont let it go off for real - please please please - tell you what how about I just test this wee bit here"

Billieboy
23rd December 2010, 20:01
Yes, that's about it SM, a real PITA!

Don't bother about doing a U/S wall thickness test, (On just one or two perhaps?)

JoK
23rd December 2010, 22:08
Way back when I started, there was an accident at the local shipyard where the Contractor dumped CO2 into the working space. He thought he was venting it to outside. It was a plain miracle no one was killed.

Satanic Mechanic
23rd December 2010, 22:18
Way back when I started, there was an accident at the local shipyard where the Contractor dumped CO2 into the working space. He thought he was venting it to outside. It was a plain miracle no one was killed.

JoK - I work and have worked with just about every type of commercially transported gas and there are two which scare me beyond normal caution - CO2 and Nitrogen - nasty bloody gasses

The one I like is ammonia - one of the safest gasses around

Duncan112
23rd December 2010, 22:44
3. Big systems - faced with several hundred/ thousand CO2 cylinders even the most stoic individuals can be overcome with sheer tedium after the first couple of days weighing the damn things



Agreed, weighing the bottles is a PITA together with the risk of inadvertently knocking the release lever whilst you are wrestling with the steelyard.

The isotope method used below the critical temperature (about 31 C) is also a bit fraught and difficult to locate the exact level.

The way I used to do it was to wet the outside of the bottle with cold water, as gaseous CO2 has a different SHC from the liquid an IR thermometer with a laser pointer can be used to determine the liquid/vapour transition and marked with chalk, this can then be confirmed with the isotope gear.

If you're in the gulf or tropics it's weighing only I'm afraid

randcmackenzie
23rd December 2010, 22:52
Its illegal to have automatic CO2 - its too lethal

Well, Yes and no.

My (almost) last job offshore was a new build FSO barge for a major oil company operating in Nigeria.

The Emergency Diesel (440V) was housed in a container forward of the accommodation.

The Auxiliary Diesel (6600V) was housed in its own container about midships abreast the gas turbines.

Though some time has elapsed I recall very clearly that both these enclosures were fitted with local CO2 systems which released automatically on receipt of a fire alarm.

On tow to Nigeria the Auxiliary Generator engine went on fire. Brand new Caterpillar fuel pipe sheared off just above the fuel valve. About 2 in the morning of course.

Alarms activated, system was later found to have been disabled by the client's commissioning rep who had just left.

Attempted manual release using the pilot system. Didn't work either.
Released the bottles manually - you know, pulled the levers.

CO2 released and fire extinguished.

As you can guess, major investigations followed, except in to the actions of the client rep who had left the system disarmed.

Better yet, during further work on the system, the automatic release was triggered again. Still didn't work. Eventually cylinder plungers were modified etc etc, and the operation deemed satisfactory.
However the fact remains that you cannot test the system without releasing it.

The automatic system on the Emergency unit did work - it went off inadvertently during what the oil industry calls a TBO - Total Black Out.

This was a semi routine event in some ships in my experience, but is viewed in the offshore industry as fairly cataclysmic and engenders high levels of stress.

Both these enclosures were spaces not intended to be manned during operation.

The philosophy was continued in respect of the laboratory where clients wanted an automatic CO2 system on a frequently manned space.

They were dissuaded with some difficulty.

B/R

Satanic Mechanic
24th December 2010, 00:27
Well, Yes and no.

My (almost) last job offshore was a new build FSO barge for a major oil company operating in Nigeria.

The Emergency Diesel (440V) was housed in a container forward of the accommodation.

The Auxiliary Diesel (6600V) was housed in its own container about midships abreast the gas turbines.

Though some time has elapsed I recall very clearly that both these enclosures were fitted with local CO2 systems which released automatically on receipt of a fire alarm.

On tow to Nigeria the Auxiliary Generator engine went on fire. Brand new Caterpillar fuel pipe sheared off just above the fuel valve. About 2 in the morning of course.

Alarms activated, system was later found to have been disabled by the client's commissioning rep who had just left.

Attempted manual release using the pilot system. Didn't work either.
Released the bottles manually - you know, pulled the levers.

CO2 released and fire extinguished.

As you can guess, major investigations followed, except in to the actions of the client rep who had left the system disarmed.

Better yet, during further work on the system, the automatic release was triggered again. Still didn't work. Eventually cylinder plungers were modified etc etc, and the operation deemed satisfactory.
However the fact remains that you cannot test the system without releasing it.

The automatic system on the Emergency unit did work - it went off inadvertently during what the oil industry calls a TBO - Total Black Out.

This was a semi routine event in some ships in my experience, but is viewed in the offshore industry as fairly cataclysmic and engenders high levels of stress.

Both these enclosures were spaces not intended to be manned during operation.

The philosophy was continued in respect of the laboratory where clients wanted an automatic CO2 system on a frequently manned space.

They were dissuaded with some difficulty.

B/R

I don't doubt you- too many variations in the world. But in general on standard ships you have to get permission from flag state to have auto-release system and then it involves a 'double knock' system whereby there are two independent alarms to actuate it. e.g a smoke and a flame detector, or smoke and heat. The only time I have ever seen this being allowed was with Halons because a) they were not so deadly and b) they had to be released early or they did not work. Halons could also be stored in each compartment.

Still had to weigh the damn things though(Cloud)

JoK
24th December 2010, 10:53
A fellow I sailed with, told me of joining a ship after some of the ER crew was killed in a CO2 release accident. The fellows doing engine work didn't have a chance to get out.

Nick Balls
24th December 2010, 11:51
One advatage (I suppose) of the old Halon systems........in the 1980's I was working out of Brazil when an electrician who was sat astride the main ER Halon bottle accidentally set it off!!!!!!! ......Everyone including him got out alive. Talking of accidents like this the one that really scared the hell out of me happened when a standby vessel in Aberdeen tried changing a very large Co2 bottle without properly replacing the safety cap. They had got as far as the ER Control room entrance when it got dropped onto the sill of the doorway. This sheared off the valve and sent the whole bottle flying into the control space !!!!
It was written up by MIAB at the time and amazingly no one was killed. After that occurred I came across a couple of occasions when I had to stop people moving gas bottles because they could not find the safety cap and where still prepared to risk it.

shamrock
24th December 2010, 12:36
Thanks for the insight about these systems...fascinating stuff.

Would it be possible that the system installed aboard Splendor may have been badly done right from the get go?

Afterall she is only a couple of years old and until the fire had not had any reason to use the CO2 suppression, so no-one would have known about the loose parts, sticky valves or leaking pipework...and it would have stayed in that condition without anyone realising had the fire not occurred?

As a passenger, it is quite a worrying, potentially lethal, problem that a ship so young could have such a serious problem with what is a life saving & essential piece of equipment.

Fincantieri sent people to San Diego to assist in the investigation, I assume that they were not the suppliers of the equipment but they probably fitted it during the building of the ship...do they have any accountability or responsibility here?

It also makes me wonder about other ships built in the timeframe by Fincantieri...Queen Elizabeth, for example, was built in 6 months, the fastest ever build by the firm.....how much of a chance is there realistically that the same errors will have been made on other ships as has been found on Splendor?

I know that the majority of passengers have no knowledge of what goes on in the engineroom, especially when things go wrong, but this case has hit the headlines around the world and it has made people ask questions about safety...something most cruisers take for granted or just don't think about.

Carnival have cancelled more cruises too now to allow repairs to be completed, she won't be sailing til late February now. She is due to go to Los Angeles for drydocking next month.

I spose the one aspect of this that stays with me is that had Splendor not had that fire, the company would never have known that there were major system failures in the CO2 equipment. Carnival were amazingly lucky, their crew who went and put the fire out once they realised the CO2 system had failed did a remarkable job...had it not been for them, the situation would have been a whole lot worse.

JoK
24th December 2010, 14:04
It is amazing she passed inspection, with the system described in the bulletin

Billieboy
24th December 2010, 14:14
Thanks for the insight about these systems...fascinating stuff.

Would it be possible that the system installed aboard Splendor may have been badly done right from the get go?I'd say that from the queries about the manuals that somethings are not quite correct

After all she is only a couple of years old and until the fire had not had any reason to use the CO2 suppression, so no-one would have known about the loose parts, sticky valves or leaking pipework...and it would have stayed in that condition without anyone realising had the fire not occurred? The system is never used except when there is a fire, so the faults in valve operation and tightness could be overlooked.

As a passenger, it is quite a worrying, potentially lethal, problem that a ship so young could have such a serious problem with what is a life saving & essential piece of equipment.
It's even more worrying when one considers that after the system had been inspected by an expert, USCG still found serious faults with it even after it had been commissioned for more than a year.

Fincantieri sent people to San Diego to assist in the investigation, I assume that they were not the suppliers of the equipment but they probably fitted it during the building of the ship...do they have any accountability or responsibility here? The builders are responsible for everything supplied, however, product liability stays with the individual supplier/manufacurer.

It also makes me wonder about other ships built in the time frame by Fincantieri...Queen Elizabeth, for example, was built in 6 months, the fastest ever build by the firm.....how much of a chance is there realistically that the same errors will have been made on other ships as has been found on Splendor? Chances of a similar cock-up are extremely high IMHO.

I know that the majority of passengers have no knowledge of what goes on in the engine room, especially when things go wrong, but this case has hit the headlines around the world and it has made people ask questions about safety...something most cruisers take for granted or just don't think about.

Carnival have cancelled more cruises too now to allow repairs to be completed, she won't be sailing til late February now. She is due to go to Los Angeles for dry docking next month.

I suppose the one aspect of this that stays with me is that had Splendor not had that fire, the company would never have known that there were major system failures in the CO2 equipment. Carnival were amazingly lucky, their crew who went and put the fire out once they realised the CO2 system had failed did a remarkable job...had it not been for them, the situation would have been a whole lot worse.

I hope that my comments will be a little enlightening!

kewl dude
25th December 2010, 03:14
Screen capture from USCG:

10afinal.pdf

Clearly showing the Carnival Splendor name on the CO2 Slave Panel

Greg Hayden

Satanic Mechanic
25th December 2010, 10:10
Thanks for the insight about these systems...fascinating stuff.

Would it be possible that the system installed aboard Splendor may have been badly done right from the get go?
Entirely possible - depends on the ability and thoroughness of the site team

Afterall she is only a couple of years old and until the fire had not had any reason to use the CO2 suppression, so no-one would have known about the loose parts, sticky valves or leaking pipework...and it would have stayed in that condition without anyone realising had the fire not occurred?
They should have been checked at the very least annually

As a passenger, it is quite a worrying, potentially lethal, problem that a ship so young could have such a serious problem with what is a life saving & essential piece of equipment.
Very Worrying yes -no question, but don't forget that there a lot more to fire fighting and fire contaiment than a fixed fire system. Not least of all the actual construction details - again though you need a sharp eye from the site team

Fincantieri sent people to San Diego to assist in the investigation, I assume that they were not the suppliers of the equipment but they probably fitted it during the building of the ship...do they have any accountability or responsibility here?
tricky one - they will have installed the system but usually the makers will commision it -BUT - the site team signed it off as accepted so they yard can easily and legitimately turn round and say "it was ok when it left here"

It also makes me wonder about other ships built in the timeframe by Fincantieri...Queen Elizabeth, for example, was built in 6 months, the fastest ever build by the firm.....how much of a chance is there realistically that the same errors will have been made on other ships as has been found on Splendor?
how longs a piece of string

I know that the majority of passengers have no knowledge of what goes on in the engineroom, especially when things go wrong, but this case has hit the headlines around the world and it has made people ask questions about safety...something most cruisers take for granted or just don't think about.
It should never have happened BUT the systems are intrinsically weak from a maintenance point of view - I and many like me spend have spent years trying to get them to 'fix the problem' - and the problem is they can and should be made easier to maintain

Carnival have cancelled more cruises too now to allow repairs to be completed, she won't be sailing til late February now. She is due to go to Los Angeles for drydocking next month.

I spose the one aspect of this that stays with me is that had Splendor not had that fire, the company would never have known that there were major system failures in the CO2 equipment. Carnival were amazingly lucky, their crew who went and put the fire out once they realised the CO2 system had failed did a remarkable job...had it not been for them, the situation would have been a whole lot worse.
There are always alternatives - the vessel is not reliant on one system and construction details are also a factor


There are alternatives coming on the market FM200 and NOVEC 1320 are new Halon type inhibitor type fire suppressents that can be stored local to compartments and don't always kill you

JoK
26th December 2010, 22:32
After all she is only a couple of years old and until the fire had not had any reason to use the CO2 suppression, so no-one would have known about the loose parts, sticky valves or leaking pipework...and it would have stayed in that condition without anyone realising had the fire not occurred? The system is never used except when there is a fire, so the faults in valve operation and tightness could be overlooked.

That is not quite true, the system should have been tested for tightness prior to the CO2 gas being hooked up. It is a simple matter of pressurizing the system to see if it holds. And, not with water-that has been done to the detriment of the system.

Mechanic-H
28th December 2010, 14:26
One of the King Line ships (B&C) that I sailed on had an engine room fire while she was at the Cadiz ship builders. Apparently the main valve lever that releases the co2 had seized and had to be operated by the shoreside crane. It was a long time ago, but may have been the MV King James.

Jeffers
28th December 2010, 14:29
In the IT environment where I last worked the old Halon systems protecting the computer rooms had been replaced by an "Inergen" based setup (more info here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inergen ). This stuff will suppress combustion, but is composed of a mix of gases that makes it non-lethal.
Just wondered why it hasn't made it into shipping applications as it's now been around a while. Cost considerations, perhaps?

lakercapt
28th December 2010, 20:53
What ever happened to the Halon systems as it was told that you (the crew member) had a chance of survival it event of a release???

JoK
28th December 2010, 22:28
Halon is a banned substance, very bad for the ozone.
We replaced ours a few years ago with FM200

Satanic Mechanic
29th December 2010, 01:22
Halon is a banned substance, very bad for the ozone.
We replaced ours a few years ago with FM200

Must admit I always thought it was bit strange to have to change out the stuff - it wasn't like we were using it except when we really had to (or as in one case the 2/E was a moron and double knocked it in a compartment while testing heads)- hey ho(Whaaa)

JoK
29th December 2010, 11:30
I am sure we will be replacing the FM200 next.

Duncan112
29th December 2010, 16:14
I have always suspected that the damage to the ozone layer and environment by the fumes emitted from a fire burning all sorts of nasties found on board a ship whilst more inefficient means of extinction are used would be far worse than that caused by a (reletively) small quantity of halon.

Anyone done the sums?

surfaceblow
29th December 2010, 17:31
Unfortunately the US EPA issued Regulation 63 FR 11084 for the handling and disposal of Halon and the equipment that used Halon. The regulation was issued in March of 1998 and became effective April 6, 1998. The only exception for the ban was on aircraft.

Joe

Satanic Mechanic
29th December 2010, 17:35
Oh there's nothing we can do about it - it just struck me that it would have been better to just stop fitting them and to dispose of existing systems as the vessels were scrapped.

Steve Oatey
26th February 2011, 23:38
My ship has Hi-Fog high pressure water mist fire suppression. No dangerous gasses, no fumes. (and excellent fire suppression).

WilliamH
27th February 2011, 07:59
My ship has Hi-Fog high pressure water mist fire suppression. No dangerous gasses, no fumes. (and excellent fire suppression).

Is this used in the Engine Room, if so what happens to the electronics.

Satanic Mechanic
27th February 2011, 09:33
Is this used in the Engine Room, if so what happens to the electronics.

The normal configuration these days is that the electronics are kept in a seperate centralised room such as the control room or indeed their own dedicated room. These spaces as well as switchboards are not usually protected by water spray or fog but by a gas - CO2, FM200, 1320 etc. as well as being duplicated so as to have redundency

In the engine room with a fog system the fire fighting is zoned so that it only goes off in the area of and surrounding the fire thus ensuring minimal damage to other equipment. In my experience the electrics in the area of even a small fire are usually fired up and need replacement very quickly inded so water damage is of a secondary concern.

Steve Oatey
27th February 2011, 22:47
The main switchboards (600 V) and the propulsion switchboards (6,600 V) are all in Hi-fog protected spaces. All the elctrical and electronic gear is sealed and designed to be watertight. On trials we inadvertently activated the Hi fog in a switchboard room, with no damage done - just a little mopping to do!

Satanic Mechanic
28th February 2011, 04:10
The main switchboards (600 V) and the propulsion switchboards (6,600 V) are all in Hi-fog protected spaces. All the elctrical and electronic gear is sealed and designed to be watertight. On trials we inadvertently activated the Hi fog in a switchboard room, with no damage done - just a little mopping to do!

Thats not a configuration I have encountered but as you say the actual quantity of water involved is surprisingly small so the damage is not as bad as you would imagine. All the vessels I have been involved with recently have had combination systems depending on the area protected and using gas in electrical areas. The electronics are generally not sealed for cooling reasons - indeed in some cases we have dedicated air-con for them. Interesting to hear of other systems though - what type of vessel is it you are working on?

Norm
28th February 2011, 06:49
In the IT environment where I last worked the old Halon systems protecting the computer rooms had been replaced by an "Inergen" based setup (more info here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inergen ). This stuff will suppress combustion, but is composed of a mix of gases that makes it non-lethal.
Just wondered why it hasn't made it into shipping applications as it's now been around a while. Cost considerations, perhaps?

Jeffers. It is being used. CO2 is becoming illegal, mainly because it is a greenhouse gas, and also because of the dangers noted in this thread. Inergen is an abbreviation of inert oxygen. It does not support combustion, but has enough oxygen to support life.

Reprinted from Wikipedia:- INERGEN is a trademarked fire suppression product of Ansul Corporation. Inergen is a blend of inert atmospheric gases that contains 52% nitrogen, 40% argon, 8% carbon dioxide [ref: Ansul Inergen MSDS Form F-9313-7]. It is considered a clean agent for use in gaseous fire suppression applications. Inergen does not contain halocarbons, and has no ozone depletion potential. It is non-toxic. Inergen is used at design concentrations of 40-50% to lower the concentration of oxygen to a point that cannot support combustion.

A component of Inergen is carbon dioxide, which allows the human body to adapt to the environment of reduced oxygen that is present after discharge of agent. Discharge of Inergen results in an approximate 3% concentration of carbon dioxide within the space. This directs the human body to take deeper breaths and to make more efficient use of the available oxygen.

When HMAS Westralia ex RFA Appleleaf suffered the tragic engine room fire that left 4 sailors dead, the captain made the decision to release CO2 into the engine room, after he had decided that no one was left alive in the ER.

During my many years in the offshore and FPSO industry I personally tested CO2 release systems many times. I am very aware of the deadly nature of CO2 systems.

victa
28th February 2011, 07:06
It must be remembered that Inergen is a gas not a liquid as CO2 is therefore more cylinders are required, this has been improved somewhat with higher pressure cylinders available. Also as this is not a extinguishing agent (as say Halon or FM200) and works by lowering the oxygen concentration so combustion is not supported but life is, then it is critical that correct concentrations are maintained during a fire. I would have thought it would be more difficult to maintain these concentrations in a marine enviroment.
Cheers
Victa

howardws
28th February 2011, 11:00
The normal configuration these days is that the electronics are kept in a seperate centralised room such as the control room or indeed their own dedicated room. These spaces as well as switchboards are not usually protected by water spray or fog but by a gas - CO2, FM200, 1320 etc. as well as being duplicated so as to have redundency

In the engine room with a fog system the fire fighting is zoned so that it only goes off in the area of and surrounding the fire thus ensuring minimal damage to other equipment. In my experience the electrics in the area of even a small fire are usually fired up and need replacement very quickly inded so water damage is of a secondary concern.

We had a primary crankcase explosion on a generator on 'Pride of Burgundy' some years ago and the watchkeeper put the 'Hi-Fog' sytem on the machine as a precaution. I climbed over and around the diesel end while it was still on and hardly became wet!

Steve Oatey
1st March 2011, 01:50
Thats not a configuration I have encountered but as you say the actual quantity of water involved is surprisingly small so the damage is not as bad as you would imagine. All the vessels I have been involved with recently have had combination systems depending on the area protected and using gas in electrical areas. The electronics are generally not sealed for cooling reasons - indeed in some cases we have dedicated air-con for them. Interesting to hear of other systems though - what type of vessel is it you are working on?

It's a Ro-Pax ferry, diesel electric. There's a picture of it somwhere on this site, name "Coastal Inspiration". Built 2008.

kewl dude
16th July 2013, 00:52
USCG released a 51 page, 3 mega byte's illustrated PDF Report on the Carnival Splendor November 8, 2010 Engine Room Fire (redacted ) links below


https://homeport.uscg.mil/mycg/portal/ep/contentView.do?contentTypeId=2&channelId=-18374&contentId=460088&programId=21431&programPage=%2Fep%2Fprogram%2Feditorial.jsp&pageTypeId=13489&BV_SessionID=@@@@0601082412.1373915934@@@@&BV_EngineID=cccdadfkglgejikcfngcfkmdfhfdfgo.0


http://tinyurl.com/o49zp6q

Click on Report of Investigation in a box on the right hand side of the page.

Greg Hayden

Landi
11th August 2013, 15:19
Hi all,

Realise that this is an older post but if anyone’s still weighing CO2 bottles, Unitor/Wilhelmsen used to supply an ultrasonic liquid level indicator. It’s no longer shown on the web site but it’s in my product guide book, Page 87, Code 500 613623, Type LLI-12. It has to be used at temperatures under 26 degC, but it’s a great tool and saves an lot of time and hassle.

I used a bulk Halon system in anger about 15 years ago on an engine room fire, worked well, but a lot of work had to be done afterwards cleaning up the alternators as when the gas knocks down the fire it creates a very corrosive reaction.

Here’s to safe bottle checking,
Ian

steamer659
12th August 2013, 13:39
I've played with a lot of CO2 systems, both HP and LP. While I consider the HP systems inherently safer, the expansion capability and smaller storage areas associated with LP systems remain an attractive variant.

Remember that ANY firefighting medium or agent which uses oxygen dilution is inherently dangerous to personnel, and in my opinion ARE generally used after the fire would be deemed uncontrollable and stands a good chance of breaching boundaries. My current vessel has two LP CO2 tanks under refrigeration with roughly 19,000 liters in each tank. The amount of machinery associated with this system is high, although the space and weight limitations of a comparable HP system (i.e. hundreds of cylinders) is easily recognizable.

On our last inspection, the LP CO2 system actuating devices and alarms were tested by pilot gas with the main tank valves secured. The Contractor stated "we have found sometimes that even the tank isolation valves leak by on LP systems".... I promptly evacuated the spaces prior to testing...

Fire Fighting BEGINS and ENDS with proactive measures to PREVENT and/or mitigate fires at the early or incipient stage. I, as both a Chief Engineer and Marine Manager tend to leave actuation and utilization of Fixed Firefighting systems as a last resort after all other attempts at extinguishment fail- at an early stage. I am a great proponent of Hi Fog Water Mist type systems....

steamer659
12th August 2013, 13:43
Further, with regard to testing, inspection, survey and actual utilization, I have had occasion to utilize these systems twice under "real" conditions ( SS Cornhusker State and USNS Ponchatoula) the former realized a cylinder head valve blowing its seals in our faces upon actuation, the latter worked fine. As a Marine Engineering Manager for a Hess concern, yearly and inspections on fixed CO2 systems often yielded surprising results, although the systems were generally well maintained between survey, this included seal failures and pull cable problems which would have severely hampered actuation....

Chillytoes
21st August 2013, 02:41
Going right back to the original report posted here (#4) where it is stated that the decision was made by the master to use the CO2 system. Funny, but I always remember that such decision was made by the Chief Engineer, with due regard to the conditions at the time and after ensuring that all personnel had vacated the space.
The case of the HMAS Westralia quoted above highlights the potential problems when this procedure is not carried out.

Fred Field
24th August 2013, 11:44
Going right back to the original report posted here (#4) where it is stated that the decision was made by the master to use the CO2 system. Funny, but I always remember that such decision was made by the Chief Engineer, with due regard to the conditions at the time and after ensuring that all personnel had vacated the space.
The case of the HMAS Westralia quoted above highlights the potential problems when this procedure is not carried out.

Should you really want to get to the nitty gritty. The ultimate responsibility to discharge rests with the Master or should s/he not be available, with the most senior deck officer present IN CONSULTATION WITH the Chief Engineer or should s/he not be available the most senior engineer present. With of course the rider that all possible measure have been taken to ensure that no survivors are likely in the space concerned. There does come a time when the safety of the many over-rules the possible survival of the small minority. I am glad it is a decision I never had to contribute to.

When I 'did' my 'Chief's ticket', it was apparently one of the oral questions 'doing the rounds', in various forms. It did not come up for me.

howardws
24th August 2013, 20:49
In my Chief's orals I was given the following scenario - "You are the Second Engineer, your engine room is on fire, it has been burning for 15 minutes and it is necessary to use the CO2 to extinguish it. The Chief Engineer is missing and nobody has any idea where he is. What do you do? My answer - "Advise the Captain that we need to use the CO2 now" seemed to satisfy the examiner but I wouldn't have liked to have been in that position in the real world.

Fred Field
24th August 2013, 22:44
In my Chief's orals I was given the following scenario - "You are the Second Engineer, your engine room is on fire, it has been burning for 15 minutes and it is necessary to use the CO2 to extinguish it. The Chief Engineer is missing and nobody has any idea where he is. What do you do? My answer - "Advise the Captain that we need to use the CO2 now" seemed to satisfy the examiner but I wouldn't have liked to have been in that position in the real world.

Basically I have to agree with you. However I believe my first question to the examiner would have been "Are we at sea or in port?" although I do have to admit it would not make much, if any difference.

For my "Chief's" I was asked 'You have a major breakdown at sea that is going to takes days to repair. What is one of the first steps you would take?" My response was "Am I Chief or Second?". Response 'Chief'.
My reply 'If I trusted the Second, split the squad in two, he with one half me with the other and work 6 hour watches until the job was done.'. We moved on from there, it seemed to satisfy them, and there were 2 of them in the room.

eldersuk
24th August 2013, 23:39
As to the second part of Fred's post, #58, I would concur.
This is the correct course of action, I have been in a similar situation myself, thankfully with a satisfactory conclusion.

Derek