Emergency Fire Pumps Inspections
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Emergency Fire Pumps Inspections


Emergency Fire Pumps Inspections

Port state control officers (PSCOs) typically focus on the ship’s emergency fire pump during inspections, and they can require evidence that the pump is operable while the vessel is in any operational condition. Failure to meet the required standard can result in the vessel being subject to port state control detention. While it is the flag administration’s responsibility to ensure that onboard arrangements are satisfactory, owners/operators are advised to check that the pump works under all operating conditions, including those at anchor, in ballast and when loaded and pulling away from the quay.

The SOLAS standard requires that emergency fire pumps operate when a single casualty, such as a fire or a switchboard failure, renders the main fire pumps in one compartment inoperable – in the engine room, for example. The pump must be operable in any condition of list or trim, including light ship condition. The standard will not be met where a vessel uses one of the main fire pumps to prime its emergency fire pump system.

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has identified that there is an increasing trend towards bulk carriers being unable to operate their emergency fire pumps in certain conditions – typically in light ship condition at anchor while waiting to load. This problem is, however, not confined to bulk carriers. One way of avoiding a PSC detention would be to test the emergency fire pump prior to any port state activity. Any failure to provide pressure noted should be reported to the operator and to your local Lloyd’s Register Group office under the requirements of the ISM Code. Measures to remedy the problem should then be instigated. The USCG has indicated a desire to work with operators to mitigate this problem. It has suggested that, where an operator is taking positive steps to resolve the issue through the implementation of measures set out in its vessels’ safety management systems, and where it has a temporary mitigation method in place (such as keeping the fire main primed through regular tests), it might avoid unnecessary detentions.


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