Oil tankers mandatory fire fighting equipments
The requirements for ships fire-fighting equipment are laid down by the regulations of the
particular country in which the tanker is registered. These regulations are generally based
on the principles of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS),
1974, as amended.
Tanker fixed fire fighting installations - Cooling
All tankers are provided with a water fire-fighting system consisting of pumps with a
permanent sea connection, a fire main with hydrant points, fire hoses complete with
couplings, and jet nozzles or, preferably, jet/spray nozzles. A sufficient number of
hydrants are provided and located so as to ensure that two jets of water can reach any
part of the ship. Certain bulkheads are sometimes fitted with permanent water spray lines.
An International Shore Fire Connection must be provided on tankers so that an external
water supply can be coupled to any hydrant in the ships fire main. These connections
should be available for immediate use.
Tanker fixed fire fighting installations - Smothering
One or more of the different smothering systems listed below may be installed on board
Carbon dioxide flooding system
This system is designed to fight fires in the engine room, boiler room and pumproom. The
system normally consists of a battery of large carbon dioxide cylinders. The carbon
dioxide is piped from the cylinder manifold to suitable points having diffusing nozzles. An
alarm should be activated in the compartment before the carbon dioxide is released to
give personnel time to evacuate the compartment.
Foam systems are used for fighting fire in the cargo spaces, on the cargo deck, in the
pumproom or in the engine spaces. A foam system has storage tanks containing foam
concentrate. Water from the fire pumps pick up the correct proportion of foam concentrate
from the tank through a proportioner and the foam solution is then conveyed through
permanent supply lines to offtake points, fixed foam monitors or, in the case of engine
room installations, to fixed dispersal nozzles.
A water fog system comprises of high pressure water lines and special fog nozzles. A ring
of nozzles around the inside of the tank opening effectively blankets a cargo tank hatch
fire. Some ships are also fitted with fixed pressurised water fog systems for protecting
specific parts of the engine room, such as oil fuel treatment spaces, boiler firing platforms,
small machinery spaces and pumprooms.
Some ships have a fixed system to give a protective water curtain between the cargo
deck and the superstructure.
Inert gas system
The purpose of an inert gas system is to prevent cargo tank fires or explosions. It is not a
fixed fire-fighting installation, but in the event of a fire, the system may be of assistance in
Portable fire extinguishers
All tankers are provided with portable fire extinguishers to meet the requirements of their
Flag Administration. In addition to the fire extinguishers fitted, tankers are also required to
carry spare charges for refilling used extinguishers. In the case of CO2 extinguishers,
spare fully charged extinguisher cylinders are carried.
All fire extinguishers should at all times be in good order and available for immediate use.
The Safety Management System should contain procedures for onboard maintenance,
including that provided by service agents. As a minimum, all fire extinguishers should be
formally checked for proper location, charging pressure and condition annually.
Consideration should be given to providing portable extinguishers, suitable for use on
Class A fires, and dedicated to deployment at the ships manifold when in port.
Types of portable fire extinguisher
In addition to fire hose reels for water extinguishing of Class A type fires involving
combustible materials, such as wood, paper and fabrics, all tankers are provided with a
range of portable fire extinguishers from the following types: -
- Water/gas extinguishers - suitable for Class A type fires only.
- Foam fire extinguishers - suitable for both Class A (combustible materials) and Class
B (flammable liquids) fires.
- CO2 fire extinguishers - suitable for Class B (flammable liquids) and Class C (electrical
- Dry powder fire extinguishers - suitable for Class A, B and C fires and fires involving
flammable gases, such as propane and butane.
- Wet chemical fire extinguishers - suitable for extinguishing fires involving deep fat
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