012/15 Class News No. 03/2015: Statutory Alert: Port state control detentions – water mist systems not ready for use or in manual mode

Applicability: All shipowners and operators

Further to Class News No. 35/2013, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) has now detained over 40 foreign flag vessels for water mist system deficiencies discovered during port state control (PSC) inspections. In a number of cases, the water supply valve was found in the closed position during the PSC inspection, making the water mist system “not readily available for immediate use”, or the water mist system was found to be in “manual” rather than “automatic” mode.

Inspection and verification of water mist systems
It is important that all water mist systems are fully checked and verified as being in satisfactory working order at all times.

It is highly advisable to make frequent rounds and inspections of the water mist system, paying close attention to valve alignment, as well as ensuring that there is adequate labelling so that existing and new crew members will know that critical fixed firefighting equipment must be made available for immediate use.

The vessel’s senior management team, designated persons ashore (DPAs) and vessel superintendents are advised to ensure procedures are in place to confirm the water mist system is fully operational and in “automatic” mode, with the power supply turned “on”. This is particularly important after maintenance is carried out on the water mist system. Procedures should be included in the vessel’s Safety Management System.

Attention is drawn to SOLAS regulation II-2/14 covering operational readiness and maintenance. Paragraph 2.1.2 states that “Fire-fighting systems and appliances shall be kept in good order and readily available for immediate use”.

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Thank you & Best Regards,

Eng. Dimitrios Nikolaos Spanos
Lead Maritime Auditor / Principal Surveyor
Member of IRCA, IIMS, ELINT, HELMEPA & Nautical Institute

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