CO2 fire suppession system failure cited in Carnival Splendor engineroom fire - Ships Nostalgia
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CO2 fire suppession system failure cited in Carnival Splendor engineroom fire

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  #1  
Old 23rd December 2010, 15:33
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CO2 fire suppession system failure cited in Carnival Splendor engineroom fire

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/...50bc5ee47f7d80

http://homeport.uscg.mil/cgi-bin/st/...1ebbce9fbb8f81

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.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 15:37
JoK JoK is offline  
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I'm curious how you know this is the Splendor fire?
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Old 23rd December 2010, 15:39
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Satanic Mechanic Satanic Mechanic is offline  
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AUTOMATIC CO2!!!!!!!!! - you have to be kidding


Problems with CO2 installations - shockerooni

I hear the next USCG circulars are

1. Popes Religion
2. Bear Toilet Habits
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Last edited by Satanic Mechanic; 23rd December 2010 at 17:21..
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Old 23rd December 2010, 15:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoK View Post
I'm curious how you know this is the Splendor fire?
Quote:
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/inde...=910&Itemid=69
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  #5  
Old 23rd December 2010, 15:56
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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)
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Old 23rd December 2010, 16:07
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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
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Old 23rd December 2010, 16:09
david freeman david freeman is offline  
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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?

Last edited by david freeman; 23rd December 2010 at 16:11.. Reason: Reasoning
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Old 23rd December 2010, 16:14
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Its illegal to have automatic CO2 - its too lethal
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Old 23rd December 2010, 16:31
G0SLP G0SLP is offline  
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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.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 16:38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satanic Mechanic View Post
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?
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Old 23rd December 2010, 16:52
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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?

Last edited by shamrock; 23rd December 2010 at 16:54..
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Old 23rd December 2010, 16:59
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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.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 17:28
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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.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 17:41
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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.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 19:25
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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/inope...res336547.aspx

Joe
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Old 23rd December 2010, 19:35
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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
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Old 23rd December 2010, 20:49
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Originally Posted by shamrock View Post
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!
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Old 23rd December 2010, 20:57
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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"
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Old 23rd December 2010, 21:01
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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?)
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Old 23rd December 2010, 23:08
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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.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 23:18
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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
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Old 23rd December 2010, 23:44
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Originally Posted by Satanic Mechanic View Post

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
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Old 23rd December 2010, 23:52
randcmackenzie randcmackenzie is offline  
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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
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Old 24th December 2010, 01:27
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Originally Posted by randcmackenzie View Post
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
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Old 24th December 2010, 11:53
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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.
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