The London P&I Club has published a loss prevention guide on risks associated with the carriage of coal cargoes, with particular emphasis on gas monitoring and ventilation.
The guide, written by Paul Willis, Senior Associate with UK-based forensic investigation and root cause analysis specialist Hawkins, notes that the management of coal cargoes and the proper use of gas detection equipment are key elements in the prevention of coal fire claims. It details the fundamental requirements relating to the installation, use and maintenance of gas detection devices and the different types of sensors involved in their operation. It also includes a checklist of good gas monitoring techniques, and recommendations on the use and care of this specialist equipment.
Despite the risks associated with the transportation of coal, the majority of ships carry such cargoes without incident. “Ultimately,” says the London Club guide, “the key to proper and efficient use of gas detection and monitoring equipment is the crew’s full understanding of how the unit works, and their familiarity with its functions and proper, prescribed maintenance routines. Adhering to the requirements and recommendations in the IMSBC Code greatly reduces the risk of fire and helps prevent incidents from becoming major casualties.”
The guide concludes, “If the master only allows cargo below 55°C to be loaded, and regularly checks it during passage, then problems can be identified at an early stage and prevented from escalating to the point where the ship and its crew are potentially in danger.”