The benefits of DESMI onboard firefighting systems
In marine applications, DESMI’s FineFog™ Fixed Water-Based Firefighting systems offer a safe, low-pressure alternative. After years of success in Asian-built ships, DESMI is now bringing its efficient firefighting products to the European market.
In Asia, DESMI is known not only for its pumps but also for its firefighting systems. More than 180 such systems are supplied to ship owners around the globe – though most of these are for ships built in China. There have not been so many installations in European shipyards, so DESMI’s Marine and Offshore Sales Manager, Christian Mellergaard wants to reach out to European ship owners and shipyards to change this.
“They mainly know us for our pumps and might not know we offer these highly efficient firefighting systems – which of course include our pumps and offer some great advantages,” he says.
DESMI has the following types of firefighting systems available:
- Fixed water-based local application system for machinery space
- Equivalent water mist fire extinguishing system for total flooding in machinery spaces and cargo pump rooms
- Water sprinkler system for accommodation
- Deck foam system for oil/chemical tanker deck protection
- Foam system for deck and helicopter landing areas
- Water spray/deluge/drencher system for special category spaces.
Ships will benefit from the automatic system around high-risk objects like combustion machinery, oil-fired boilers or burners, incinerators or purifiers for heated oil fuel. If there is an oil spill that catches fire, then the FineFog™ nozzles above that application are activated – based on a signal from flame detector or smoke detector – and the alarm sounds. The crew can still enter the room and continue with conventional firefighting with hoses. Or, if necessary, they can release the total flooding mechanism in engine rooms up to 5036 m3.
“And that's where our system has a big advantage over gas-based firefighting systems like CO2,” Christian says. While CO2 systems are effective, they come with a risk to human life. “With CO2, if you have a fire on your engine room, you first need to evacuate everybody because otherwise the gas will suffocate them. And you have to make sure ventilation is shut off, and the room is completely sealed off. You must also ensure that all machinery in the engine room is stopped. This can take several minutes. In this time, a minor fire can grow quite large,” he says.
“You only have one shot with CO2 – you can only release the system once. And also, CO2 has no cooling effect. So that actually means, the fire could reignite very easily. And afterward, you can’t go into the engine room or confined space for several hours. You need to be totally sure that the fire is put out first before restarting ventilation of the engine room.”
DESMI’s FineFog™ total flooding by water mist offers a great alternative. “You can just start it right away. You can activate the main system, and people can be present, if needed – it doesn't kill them. It's just water. And it’s non-toxic. And there’s plenty of it. At the same time, you have the cooling effects. That's one of the big advantages. It’s effective, it only uses minimal flow rates, and it's easy. Pump from a freshwater tank or sea chest. The maintenance is easy compared to the regular inspections you need to do with CO2 installations. And you don’t need extra room for all these CO2 bottles.”
Water spray system
DESMI also offers a water spray/deluge/drencher system with open nozzles. It is activated by a fire detection system, opening a deluge valve and letting water flow simultaneously from all the open sprinklers in a specific section. Deluge systems are used for protection against rapidly spreading, high-hazard fires on for example RO-RO and RO-PAX vessels.
Water spray is used to cool fires, and for crew protection on for example gas carriers or chemical tankers, where you cool down the whole deck area and surfaces with water spray.
Water spray is also required on vessels transporting class 1 material like containers and open hatch general cargo vessels.
For self-unloading vessels, water spray is used to kill or suppress fires in material and offloading equipment. Systems can also be installed for dust suppression on these self-unloading vessels.