“In many of the cases, the chief engineer was not aware that the water supply valve was in the closed position and was left in the closed position during maintenance,” the alert advises. “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 systems, paying close attention to valve alignment,” the alert continues, “As well as ensuring that there is adequate labeling so that so that existing and new crewmembers will know that critical fixed firefighting equipment must be made available for immediate use.”
Further to this, Lloyd’s Register strongly suggests that a vessel’s senior personnel, Designated Persons Ashore (DPAs) and superintendents must ensure that measures are in place to ensure that the water-mist system is in a fully operational and automatic mode. And that these measures should be included in the vessel’s Safety Management System (SMS).
Attention is specifically drawn to SOLAS II-2/14, which covers ‘Operational Readiness and Maintenance’. Paragraph 2.1.2 states that: “Fire-fighting systems and appliances shall be kept in good working order and readily available for immediate use.”
The alert from Llyod’s Register highlights nothing new, but is a timely reminder for crew. It acknowledges that this is a common deficiency recognised by the USCG in recent times and is not only cause for a yacht to get detained, but is also a potential safety hazard. It is important for crew on board superyachts to take note of such alerts in an attempt to improve and regulate on board safety practices.