Date (Y-M-D): 1996-07-03
Subject: Activation Temperature for Automatic Gas Smothering Systems
This Bulletin has been replaced by Bulletin No. 14/1996.
An incident has been reported where a fire occurred in the machinery space of a small wooden fishing vessel. Although not required by Regulation, an automatic Halon 1301 smothering system had been fitted to protect the machinery space. This system did not operate and the fire was extinguished by other means.
The automatic system in question is activated by the bursting of a frangible bulb which in the subject vessel was rated to operate at 141oC (286oF) and in a subsequent test, the bulb did fracture at this temperature. Ship owners are advised that any systems fitted, even though not required by Regulation to be fitted, should comply with regulatory requirements.
Although no temperature of activation for smothering systems is presently in the Regulations, we recommend that activation temperature for these systems should be no higher than 30oC (86oF) above the expected highest ambient temperature in the location of the actuator.
Ship owners fitting automatic systems to their vessels, where automatic systems are permitted by regulation, should request their suppliers to provide a system where the activation temperature is within the above limits. If practible, existing systems should be checked and corrected.
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