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Chemical tanker operation -risk of chemical fire & preventive measures

There is no such thing as a minor fire involving chemicals. A fire involving chemicals is most likely to occur in a cargo tank or on the tank deck; however, in the case of a spill or tank overflow or a side shell rupture, the fire may rapidly spread to the sea surrounding the vessel.

In addition, chemicals belonging to certain families are known to react with those of other families when they may accidentally come in contact with each other. Such reactions may be violent and result in the release of toxic gases, heating of the liquids, overflow and rupture of the cargo tanks and fire and explosions may result.

Fires involving chemicals pose specific hazards and the conventional method of extinguishing a fire by the removal of one of the elements required for combustion to take place, i.e. heat, oxygen, fuel, may not apply in dealing with chemical fires.

chemical fire at sea
Fig: chemical fire at sea

In chemical fires the source of heat may be a reaction within the chemical itself or from a reaction after mixing chemicals. A supply of oxygen may be released from the chemical through heating from the fire. As a result, fire fighting involving chemicals is more difficult and the best course is to prevent any fire occurring.

The actions to be taken in the event of a fire onboard should, as a minimum, include the following:-

Summarized below are recommended fire fighting methods for modern chemical tankers:

Total flooding method for seagoing chemical tankers

Water extinguishing method for fire protection

Foam extinguishing method for chemical tankers

Dry powder fire extinguishing method

Related Info:

Controlling the atmosphere in cargo tanks with nitrogen supplied from shore

How to determine the level of a liquid in a chemical tank

Poisoning and required first aid treatment onboard

After tank cleaning gas freeing safety guideline for chemical tankers

Draegar safety tube prior entering enclosed spaces

Preparations prior allowing personnel into cargo tanks / enclosed spaces

How to rescue injured or unconscious person from enclosed spaces

Preparations for hot work and safety precautions

Total flooding method for seagoing chemical tankers

Water extinguishing method for fire protection

Foam extinguishing method for chemical tankers

Dry powder fire extinguishing method

Tank cleaning fatality- case study & lessons learned

Tank cleaning and posoning hazards

Testing of tanks and cargoes

Practical tank cleaning methods for various noxious liquid cargo

Special tank cleaning method

Determining proper tank cleaning by acid wash method

Supervision of all tank cleaning and gas freeing operations

Disposal of tank washings, slops and dirty ballast - safe method

Following reference publications provide useful guidance and international regulations for carrying hazardous chemicals at sea.

Our detail pages contain somewhat larger lists of resources where you may find more useful information.

Main Info pages!

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