Bulletin No.: 13/1985

Date (Y-M-D): 1985-07-18

Subject: Fire Precautions with respect to fuel oil piping and fittings

The purpose of this bulletin is to remind Mariners of the dangers associated with the use of fuel oil and warn of a potentially dangerous situation.

A recent engine room fire was caused by fuel oil spraying from a broken nipple onto a hot exhaust and igniting.

As a result, the vessel lost power and grounded; fortunately, there were no injuries and the fire was extinguished by the ship's crew.

Subsequently, the accident investigation revealed that the breakage had occurred in a nipple, connecting an air vent cock to the fuel oil piping between the fuel booster pump discharge and the suction side of the injector pumps.

The vent cock and piping were in an exposed position and vulnerable to damage by persons working in the vicinity; furthermore, the wall thickness of the nipple was found to be between 0.36mm and 0.60mm at the thread root.

The probable cause of failure appeared to be propagation of a crack, possibly started by a knock, in association with the thin wall of the fitting. A situation which is likely to reoccur in similar components.

It is therefore strongly recommended that urgent attention be given to:

  1. Inspection of similar fuel oil piping installations, with special attention being paid to the integrity and wall thickness of fittings and vulnerability to damage.
  2. The possibility of fitting shields at connections, to contain oil spray in the case of breakage, and drainage of any leakage to a drip tray.
  3. The fitting of sheathing around lagging if there is a possibility of it being subjected to oil leaks from any source.
  4. The frequent checking of the condition of lagging, oil pipework and fittings, which should be an item of routine maintenance and watchkeeping.

Keywords:                                  Questions concerning this bulletin should be addressed to:

1. Fire
2. Fuel Oil
3. Piping
Transport Canada
Marine Safety
Tower C, Place de Ville
11th Floor, 330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8

To add or change your address, contact us at: marinesafety@tc.gc.ca

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