A Danish specialist in advanced measuring equipment for ships has entered a major agreement with Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding on the delivery of equipment that markedly minimizes the risk of shipboard fires. The equipment detects oil mist and vapor on ships and triggers an alarm before fires can develop and endanger the crew, ship, equipment, and environment.

Several times a year, serious fires happen on board container ships, bulk carriers, ferries, and other types of maritime vessels, and in way too many cases, human lives, cargo, and ships are lost. In addition, shipboard fires may cause major environmental catastrophes. But many shipboard fires can be prevented if the ships install equipment that can raise an alarm even before fires can develop, as this type of equipment detects oil mist and vapors that the crew can neither see nor smell.

For this purpose, the Danish company Green Instruments has now entered into an agreement with Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding, a part of China’s largest shipbuilding group, CSSC. Under the agreement, the shipyard will install oil mist detectors from Green Instruments on new ships that the huge shipyard is building for a major customer.

"It is a horrible thing that every year, we see shipboard fires that develop catastrophically and in the worst cases claim human lives. A very large number of these fires can be prevented if the shipping companies invest a minor amount in equipment that instantly detects oil mist and vapor on board. We are therefore pleased that an increasing number of shipping companies are utilising our equipment on new ships, leading the way when it comes to safety at sea," says Green Instruments CEO, Morten Brandborg.

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.


Read More: MOL to install cameras for early fire detection


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.

"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 Morten Brandborg.

Increasing interest in safety equipment

The agreement with the large shipyard is the latest in Green Instruments’ increasing portfolio of contracts for supplying oil mist detectors to shipping companies that have a large vested interest in increasing shipboard safety. Engine room fires on ships cost an average of USD 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.

"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 Morten Brandborg.

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.

The deployment of oil mist detectors is also high on the priority list of the international organization OCIMF (Oil Companies International Marine Forum), the leading organization within safety in the maritime industry. Through the SIRE program (Ship Inspection Report Programme), 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.

Source: Green Instruments


Read Here



Issue 88 of Robban Assafina

(Nov./ Dec. 2023)


Related News