The Gibraltar Maritime Administration has issued the Shipping Guidance Notice (SGN) regarding periodic inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire extinguishers, compressed gas cylinders, and fixed fire-extinguishing systems onboard Gibraltar registered vessels.
This SGN superseded SGN 028, 028(a), and 028(b) and was published on January 26th, 2023.
Fire Extinguishers (extinguishers include portable and semi-portable units of all types) should be examined annually by a competent person. The hydraulic test period for all types of portable fire extinguishers should be conducted at intervals not exceeding 10 years unless the extinguisher is found to be defective during an inspection.
Cylinders for SCBA, Medical Oxygen, and Compressed Air Cylinders for survival craft air systems should be externally examined annually by a competent person. Oxygen pressure regulators should be serviced at least every 5 years.
Inspection and testing of fixed carbon dioxide fire-extinguishing systems are to be undertaken in accordance with the revised guidelines of MSC.1/Circ.1318/Rev.1 (as amended).
Cylinders containing refrigerant gases, nitrogen, and gases for burning equipment are not normally considered to be part of the ship’s safety equipment. They are generally supplied in full and exchanged or returned when empty. Ship’s staff should, prior to accepting the cylinder on board, check the date stamp on the cylinders and ensure that no more than 5 years have elapsed since the last hydraulic pressure test.
Foam Systems, to include all foam types: FP; AFFF; FFFP; ARFFF
An analysis of fixed foam samples systems must be undertaken after 3 years from the date of manufacture and annually thereafter. A thorough inspection of the system's full functionality should be done once every 2 years by an accredited service agent.
For foam sampling of portable systems, one should check the batch numbers and establish the age of the compound. If within the manufacturer recommended shelf life, then the compound does not need to be tested provided the drums remain sealed with no visible signs of degradation.
Annually, fixed dry powder systems should be inspected, and the dry powder charge should be agitated with nitrogen, using “bubbling” connections where provided. Powder containment vessels and associated piping should be subject to hydraulic testing carried out by an accredited service agent at intervals not exceeding 10 years. The powder containment vessels' safety valves and discharge hoses should be tested every 2 years. Note: Annual on-board inspection or test, with the exception of pressure testing, may be carried out by a senior member of the ship's staff who has been successfully trained to carry out this work.
Automatic sprinkler and fixed pressure water spray systems should be inspected and tested by a competent person as per the manufactures instructions.
Monthly tests should be carried out for auto start function of a sprinkler system.
Quarterly testing is performed for all automatic alarms and control gear for the sprinkler systems should be tested using the test valves and procedures for each section.
Annual testing: the following should be carried out:
- Water spray fixed fire-fighting systems should be tested for correct operation.
- Sprinkler pumps should be flow tested to ensure design pressures and flows.
- Alarms, pressure switches, and control gear settings should be verified.
- The sprinkler system connections from the ship's fire main should be tested.
- All associated relief valves should be tested.
Yearly tests should be conducted for the pressure tank and all check and control valves should be internally inspected. Also, checks are to be carried out to confirm that distribution pipe work is free from corrosion and blockage.
Hydraulic test pressure applied for all cylinders and extinguishers should be 1.5x maximum working pressure, which should be held for at least one minute. The test pressure should be clearly stamped on each compressed gas cylinder and clearly marked on each extinguisher.
Records of inspection, maintenance, and testing of all extinguishers and cylinders must be maintained and readily available on board for inspection. These records should clearly identify each individual extinguisher or cylinder and its inspection status.
For more information, please see the document below (available only to subscribers):
Periodic Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Compressed Gas Cylinders, Fire Extinguishers, and Fixed Fire-fighting Systems
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