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Technical Reference : Marine Clean Agent Regulations

There are several documents available which govern the design, installation, and maintenance of offshore fire suppression systems. These documents are published to promote safe navigation of the vessel, and protect the people on board. They also apply to offshore platform installations. Many of the codes were developed for Halon 1301 systems and have not been revised for the Clean Agents now available. However, the United States Coast Guard continues to use these guidelines for the design and installation of FM-200 Clean Agent Systems.

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Code/Standard

Information Covered

NFPA 2001, Chapter 5, 2001 Edition
(3,344 KB)

Chapter 5 of the new edition to NFPA 2001 was added to provide guidelines for the design and installation of Clean Agent fire suppression systems for marine applications. This document explains the basic philosophy of marine system, storage locations for cylinders, control systems, system configurations, system design criteria and system test criteria. Most of the information provided by NFPA is a compilation and summary of the NVIC, CFR, and IMO shown below. Consult NFPA 2001 for more details.

Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 6-72 Change 1 Chapter VI, Halon Systems
(49 KB)

NVIC 6-72 is one of the most common circulars referred to when designing marine suppression systems. This document explains the basic philosophy of marine systems, storage locations for cylinders, system controls and instructions, and design review of the system. This circular is written around Halon 1301 systems but still provides good information regarding system operation, design, and review of a system. The drawings of system arrangements has been replaced by USCG approved methods for FM-200 systems.

IMO MSC/Circular 848 – Revised Guidelines for the Approval of Equivalent Fixed Gas Fire Extinguishing Systems, as referred to in SOLAS 74, for Machinery Spaces and Cargo Pump Rooms
(20 KB)

This circular covers most of the requirements necessary for the design of a fixed gas fire extinguishing system aboard ship. Several references are made to SOLAS Regulation II governing system design and operation. It also includes the fire tests that have to be run by system manufacturers to receive Coast Guard Approval.

Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Chapter II Regulation 5 – Fixed Gas Fire Extinguishing Systems
(included, below)

This document outlines the requirements for the design and installation of Fixed Gas Fire Extinguishing Systems. Although the document is written around Halon Systems it does provide good guidelines for container storage and other system details.

46 CFR 181.410 – Fixed Gas Fire Extinguishing Systems
(76 KB)

This document outlines the guidelines for design, system layout, and specific piping requirements for Halon and Carbon Dioxide Systems.

NVIC 3-95 – Periodic Inspection and Testing of Fixed Halon Fire Fighting Equipment Aboard Merchant Vessels
(25 KB)

This document outlines the necessary procedures for inspection and testing of system storage cylinders. This circular was written to address the hydrostatic testing requirements for Halon 1303 cylinders but it provides guidelines for inspection and testing of like cylinders.

There are other guidelines available regarding fire suppression systems although these are the most used and recognized of them. After reviewing the guidelines you will notice that parts of them are repeated in many different documents. Because there are different organizations like the IMO, SOLAS, and the USCG that govern off shore systems, there tends to be an overlap of requirements.

These documents are provided solely for information pertaining to the design requirements of the different organizations. When designing a Marine FM-200 system, it is vitally important to research the specific design requirements for the project. All final designs MUST be approved by the appropriate Authority Having Jurisdiction.

 

Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Chapter II Regulation 5 – Fixed Gas Fire Extinguishing Systems

This regulation has multiple sections describing the use of fire extinguishing systems. Section 1 lists the general guidelines for fire extinguishing systems. Section 2 is specific to carbon dioxide systems, and Section 3 is specific to Halon 1301, 1211 and 2402. This manual will cover the highlights of Sections 1 and 3.

Section 1 Highlights

  • The piping network and nozzles shall be arranged to provide uniform distribution of the agent.
  • All openings that may admit air into the protected space shall be closed prior to system discharge.
  • Audible warnings shall be provided to warn personnel and allow them time to exit the hazard before the system is discharged.
  • The system controls shall be readily accessible and in as few locations as possible at places not likely to be cut off in case of a fire. Clear instructions describing system operation shall be at each control location.
  • Means shall be provided to safely check the quantity of the fire suppression agent.
  • When the fire extinguishing system containers are stored outside the protected space, they shall be stored in a well-ventilated room situated in a safe and accessible position. Access doors shall open outward, the access doors and other openings to the space must be gas tight.

Section 3 Highlights

  • Use of halogenated hydrocarbon systems is prohibited in cargo spaces unless the space is intended solely for the carriage of vehicles that are not carrying any cargo.
  • When halogenated hydrocarbons are used to protect a hazard by total flood design:
    • The system shall be manual release
    • Ventilation fans and dampers in the protected hazard shall be shut down prior to agent release.
    • The system shall operate within an acceptable temperature range.
    • The pressure in the system storage container shall have the ability to be safely checked.

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