An unusual account from a ship operator of the failure of a remote CO2 control cabinet, with a high potential for a serious incident to occur.
What the Reporter told us:
Whilst the vessel was underway at sea, the crew working on deck heard a hissing sound coming from the CO2 room. Upon inspection of the CO2 room, the crew observed that the cabinet of the CO2 pilot bottles was lying on the floor damaged, and its wall mounting had completely failed.
The crew was mustered and it was confirmed that they were all safe. It was also confirmed that no CO2 leakage had occurred to the engine room or pump room. The CO2 bottles were inspected / measured at the next port of call and were found almost full.
Damage to CO2 remote release cabinet
From the investigation that was carried out, the following should be noted:
- The vessel reported that inspections and tests of the CO2 fixed system were carried out regularly. Damage to the support brackets for the cabinet had not been noted during inspections.
- The cabinet was constructed of plastic. It was concluded that the incident was caused due to wear and tear of the wall mountings of the CO2 pilot cabinet box.
- All fleet vessels were instructed to thoroughly inspect their remote CO2 cabinets and revert with findings.
CHIRP occasionally receives CO2 related near misses – Maritime Feedback 44 reported upon the accidental release caused by brittle O-rings, and an article relating to misuse of locking pins was published in Maritime Feedback 17. MAIB has an incident report (number 23-2012) where pilot valves were not isolated during servicing, and the system activated. The USCG described an accidental CO2 release when the CO2 release valves were mistaken for quick closing valves and the system was activated by mistake. USCG Safety Alert 15-2014 refers.
This incident could have resulted in multiple casualties if the pilot bottles have been triggered when the control box failed. How secure is your remote release cabinet? Do not let the something like this happen to you. For CO2 system manufacturers – is your cabinet robust enough to withstand the vibrations experienced on a vessel?