Foam systems fire-tested for compliance

Maintenance, testing, and inspections for onboard fire protection and firefighting systems and appliances are required in accordance with SOLAS Chapter II-2/14.2.2 and must be carried out in a manner having due regard to ensuring the reliability of the systems and appliances.

When it comes to fixed firefighting foam systems specifically, work is to be carried out based on the guidelines referred to in MSC.1/Circ.1432.

Hereunder, the verification of valves, gauges, and more must be carried out on a monthly basis, while the verification of the quantity of foam concentrate must be carried out each quarter. Also, every year, functional testing and foam sampling must be completed, while every 5 years, inspection systems key components, including the induction system and control valves, must be carried out.

VIKING provides a full scope of inspection, repairs, supplies, and certification services carried out by experienced technicians with digitalized planning tools and at a uniformly high level of quality in 150+ ports worldwide.

Always investing in safety 

International Maritime Organization regulations are developed with patience and precision, even when their trigger has been an incident screaming out for an immediate response.

Shipowners, therefore, have good reason to seek coolheaded technical advice on compliance, especially where the safety of ships and those onboard is at stake. Putting rules into practice often demands further training, better equipment, enhanced service support, and even revising the materials products used by ships and shipping.

Classifications societies play a pivotal role, through approvals, testing, and certification, but it is fair to say that the investment burden falls most heavily on the OEM or service partner, the training organization, connectivity provider, or testing facility.

Recently, significant investment in facilities and expertise to analyze and test firefighting foam performance further underpin VIKING’s strategy to make marine fire protection and firefighting equipment services central to its full-scope partner safety. Within this field alone, VIKING provides a full scope of inspection, repairs, supplies and certification services carried out by experienced technicians with digitalized planning tools and at a uniformly high level of quality in 150+ ports worldwide.

VIKING has reached an agreement with specialist Dr. Sthamer covering high-quality product supply. However, while firefighting foams can last up to 10 years if properly handled, for foam concentrates used for fixed deck foam fire-extinguishing systems required for tankers, the first periodical control should be performed at a reputable laboratory not more than 3 years after being supplied to the ship, and after that, every year.

Foaming with fire service commitment

In line with its unfolding strategy for marine fire equipment services, VIKING Life-Saving Equipment has been investing in its specialized VIKING Foam Lab Odense to augment its capabilities in testing ship reserves of firefighting foam.

International standards and quality management systems for marine firefighting foam (IMO1312 and IMO670) include requirements for test equipment.

Foam Lab Odense is equipped to perform the necessary tests for low and high expansion, drainage time, pH value, density, and contamination chemical resistance, as well as undertaking conductivity and small-scale fire tests. Recently, the lab took delivery of a sophisticated testing device, which optically reads drainage time and ensures a consistent test process.

Our ambition is to cover all aspects of marine firefighting equipment, and our new state-of-the-art laboratory puts us on the global map in terms of testing facilities too.

Our class approvals comply with IMO regulations for testing all foam types, and we expect to receive DANAK accreditation in the course of 2021 as the ultimate stamp of approval for our work.

Tried, tested, and delivered digitally

The expert laboratory service supports a new user-friendly test kit package solution for shipowners, comprising a container for collecting a foam sample, instructions on how to take the sample on board, and a prepaid shipping label. Once tested in Odense, the service check list and data are saved electronically via an iPad, and a certificate is issued to verify completion of the test. This ensures traceability and enables monitoring of the condition of the foam.

We initially expect to handle more than 1,000 foam samples a year, received directly from global shipowners and from its own servicing stations. We’re a global player with the support of a strong network, and our foam lab will strengthen our maritime customers’ perception of us as a competent partner and full-service supplier to the marine fire service segment. It is a competence extending beyond logistics to include advisory support based on manufacturer guidance on the required condition of foams storage and handling on board ship, but also tank condition analysis and cleaning, refilling, and foam disposal services.

Indeed, marine fire service is often sourced as part of VIKING’s multi-annual service contract for maritime operators, the VIKING Shipowner Agreement, and is also offered to the oil and gas industry as part of our Offshore Service Agreement. Foam analysis is a naturally integrable part of both of these agreement concepts.

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