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Article written by Joe Maguire, Technical Manager at Skuld P&I Club. The Club would like to draw attention to the continued dangers of fires which originate in the machinery space. Specifically, where the cause of the fire is as a result of a flammable liquid spraying onto a hot surface.
Typical root causes for such incidents have been identified as:
– Missing pipe brackets/supports on oil systems leading to increased vibrations and subsequent cracks or even breakage of the oil piping system.
– Missing cup over the fuel injector valve.
– Original insulation or screening of hot surfaces was not maintained correctly.
– Original insulation or screening of hot surfaces was not sufficient for preventing oil spray onto hot surfaces.
– Insulation soaked with oil caught fire when sufficiently heated up.
– Oil leakages from engine components like exhaust valve indicators spraying onto the exhaust manifold.
According to TT Club, container fires are a far more regular occurrence than most people would realise. Statistics show there is a major container cargo fire at sea roughly every 60 days. So, tackling fires and subsequent investigations are complex and vitally important activities.
With increasing container ships size increases the risk of a fire incident increases too. Despite some regulatory and technical advances, the fact is that the ability to respond to a cargo-related fire at sea has not progressed as needed in recent times.
To tackle a fire in a hold, TT Club notes a CO2 system will be installed if the ship is carrying dangerous goods. The gas released from a CO2 system can displace the oxygen in the hold and smother the fire. However, for CO2 to be effective, the hold must be closed to retain the gas and prevent oxygen ingress.
If an incident has taken place in a container stowed on deck, water will be the only option available . Nevertheless, it is unlikely to extinguish a fire inside a container in the short term.
The West of England P&I Club has warned operators and others involved of the dangers of carrying nickel ore. Carrying nickel ore can be dangerous, because of the risk of liquefaction of the cargo on passage when the moisture content is higher than the cargo’s Flow Moisture Point (FMP).
After a number of ships being lost, with liquefaction of their nickel ore cargoes suspected of being the cause, the West of England Club published a Notice some years ago addressing the Dangers of Carrying Nickel ore. This Notice is still in forced and was re-issued as No.13 2017/2018 – Dangers of Carrying Nickel Ore from Indonesia and the Philippines – Mandatory Notification Requirements (re-issued).
The Club reminds operators of the risk of liquefaction with this cargo, as showcased by the loss of the ‘Emerald Star’, which claimed the lives of 11 seafarers in October 2017.
The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) latest meeting of the Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC) takes place in London this week and the international freight insurance specialist, TT Club is calling for more urgent action on issues pertaining to the safety of container transport.
For some time now the insurer has been drawing both industry and regulators’ attention to the need for greater ‘Cargo Integrity’, by which is meant the safe, secure and environmentally sound packing, handling and transport of all goods in containers and other transport units, in compliance with conventions (such as SOLAS1) and codes, including IMDG Code2 and the CTU Code3.
TT Club’s Risk Management Director, Peregrine Storrs-Fox comments, “Achieving such Cargo Integrity across the complex web of the international freight supply chain is a big ask and we are in little doubt that a comprehensive result will take time to achieve. However many industry bodies are making significant strides, particularly in the areas of dangerous goods identification, declaration and handling as well as container weighing and packing. We are calling on the regulators, in this case the IMO, to assist in taking action to Continue reading “TT Club emphasises need for cargo integrity ahead of IMO meeting on container safety”
The growing tendency of increase in weight and size of project cargoes calls for advanced methods to facilitate the cargo transport overseas in a safe and efficient way. Normally, large and heavy project cargo stowed on a heavy lift ship is secured and lashed according to regulations laid down in Annex 13 of IMO’s CSS Code. Standard procedure is to calculate the forces acting on each cargo item by multiplying the mass of the cargo item with design accelerations tabulated in Annex 13. Those design accelerations represent maximum values that the cargo would go through during a winter crossing of the North Atlantic, where most severe sea conditions of all oceans are assumed. Consequently, the cargo and its lashing gear are loaded by the highest and steepest occurring waves of the most severe sea area and the worst season of the year.