(www.MaritimeCyprus.com) Engine room fires account for up to 50 percent of all fires on vessels with 70 percent of those engine room fires being caused by leaks from pressurized systems and in general, oil leakage, dripping on hot spots on engines is the most common cause of engine room fires on board ships.
It's no surprise that engine room fires are so common because engine rooms contain all sides of the Fire triangle, in abundance - namely, the fuel and lubricants, the air containing oxygen that is being forced into the engine room in great quantities to supply the engines and of course the heat that is associated with engine rooms and machinery.
How to avoid engine room fires
- Ensure that the insulation covering heated surfaces is always in good condition.
- Use thermal imaging at regular intervals to spot and identify inadequate insulation and hot surfaces.
- Routinely check and inspect pipe work and screening arrangements for deterioration.
- Any leakage found should be investigated and dealt with immediately.
- No woodwork, combustible material or flammable compounds should be stored in machinery spaces.
- Ensure by regular testing that passive safety devices such as fire dampers and quick closing valves are in good condition and fully operational.
- Make sure the engine alarm system is fully functional. Always investigate alarms thoroughly and take prompt action before clearing the alarm status.
- Get to know your fixed fire fighting system. Have the system serviced at regular intervals by a manufacturer’s specialist and make sure that release instructions are clear and correct.
- Focus your fire drills in machinery spaces. Training is the key to a successful response.
- The response time is crucial for the outcome. Respond immediately as soon as you detect a fire.
For further info readers can download below, relevant guidance from UK P&I club and from the Swedish Club (click on each image below).