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Water extinguishing method for fire protection onboard chemical tankers

Fire prevention is one of the most essential safety measures on board a chemical tanker. All ships are fitted with means for fire fighting with water. Although not ideal, water can be used on fires in a majority of chemical cargoes, the advantage of course lying in its abundant supply. Water is, however, not very effective in extinguishing fires in very gassing cargoes such as naphta, gasolines or liquified gases; it may, however, then be used as a cooling medium in connection with dry powder or other methods of fire fighting in order to avoid dangerous "back flash"

Water should be applied to the base of the fire by means of water fog jets, water pressure preferably not lower than 9 kp/cm 2. The fog serves as an excellent heat radiation shield in front of the operator. Never direct a solid jet of water on to a burning liquid surface, the effect will only be that burning liquid is splashed around, thereby making the fire bigger. 'Water fog shall be applied with a strategy of chasing the fire succesively away from the operator. The fog may be swung from side to side to cover a wide front of attack.

Do not apply water fog on top of foam; it will cause the foam to disintergrate and may possibly in so doing expose the surface of the flammable cargo to the risk of a back flash.




It is a good practice to have water hoses with fog jets connected to the fire main on deck during cargo handling. The IMCO Code ref (25) advices against water for most products in the relevant "Summary of minimum requirements". This list, however, is meant to emphasize that other extinguishing media are a first choice and are to be provided on board.

Caution : Do not hose water into conc sulphuric acid, an eruption of liquid may occur!



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



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