Green Instruments Secures Shipyard Deal for Fire Detection Equipment

Danish company Green Instruments has entered a major agreement with Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding for the delivery of equipment that detects oil mist and vapor on ships and triggers an alarm before fires can develop and endanger the crew, ship, equipment, and environment.

The shipyard now installs Green Instruments’ equipment on every new vessel built.

Oil mist is formed by oil droplets floating in the air and can ignite at low temperatures. Green Instruments’ oil mist detector is designed to register the slightest traces of oil mist and vapor from hydraulic oils and bunker fuel, among others, and it will trigger an alarm at the first sign of danger. By use of laser technology, the detector scans an area of up to 15 meters and can be configured to monitor different areas simultaneously. A display shows the exact location of the oil leak, enabling the crew to react quickly and prevent fires from developing in the engine room or other places.

The engine room in particular is a high-risk area for fires, as it contains a dangerous mix of oxygen, heat, and pressurized fuel. Oil mist is the most common ignition source of fires on board ships.

Engine room fires on ships cost an average of $1,85 million, and engine room fires often lead to the vessel being out of operation for a significant period of time. Often, shipping contracts include a clause stating that the shipping companies will lose their charter if a ship is out of service for more than 3-4 days, so an engine fire may be the cause of a shipping company losing a 10-year contract, which may mean losing the entire financial basis for the ship.

Official numbers from the industry show that 163 ships in the global merchant fleet experience engine room fires every year, but the number is by all accounts significantly higher. The talk within the industry is that the number is in the area of 500. This does not include engine room fires on ships that have experienced this type of fire more than once.

“Many fires happen because the crew are unaware of a leak, and once a fire has broken out, it will almost always have great costs – in the worst cases, the fires have incalculable consequences for the crew, the environment, or the shipping company,” says Brandborg.

The deployment of oil mist detectors is also high on the priority list of the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF), the leading organization within safety in the maritime industry. Through the Ship Inspection Report Programme (SIRE), OCIMP works to prevent damage to humans and the environment, and the organization recommends that ships have oil mist detectors and other types of safety equipment on board, because the equipment reduces the risk of accidents significantly.

“We can firmly say that the interest in oil mist detectors is increasing, because more and more shipping companies become aware that a quite minor investment can increase safety on board markedly,” says Brandborg.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding

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