This Safety Alert addresses the importance of installing noncombustible materials in machinery space boundaries with dry exhaust systems. A recent marine casualty resulting in an engine room fire onboard a commercial fishing vessel identified significant hazards associated with main engine dry exhaust systems coming in direct contact with combustible materials, such as general-purpose resin on a wood Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) vessel.
Some commercial fishing vessels are required to insulate combustibles from heated surfaces in accordance with 46 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 28.380(b) and ABYC P-1 requires fittings in contact with uncooled exhaust carriers to be noncombustible. However, there are currently no specific requirements for commercial fishing vessels to use fire retardant resin or to install noncombustible panels around machinery compartment boundaries.
When constructed of wood or general-purpose resin, a lack of noncombustible materials can lead to the main engine exhaust heating a wood/FRP deck, which can ultimately lead to a fire. In the above-mentioned vessel casualty, the main engine’s dry exhaust caused the vessel’s wooden deck to ignite and caused $200,000 in damage
The Coast Guard strongly recommends that commercial fishing vessel owners and operators:
- Ensure that dry exhaust piping passing through combustible bulkheads or partitions are insulated/shielded from combustible materials.
- Install noncombustible panels on existing vessels with general purpose resin.
- For new construction vessels, install noncombustible panels or fire-retardant resin around machinery compartment boundaries constructed of wood/FRP.
This Safety Alert is provided for informational purposes only and does not relieve any domestic or international safety, operational, or material requirement. Developed by Sector Delaware Bay Investigations Division and distributed by the Office of Investigations and Analysis. Questions may be sent to HQS-SMB-CGINV@uscg.mil.
This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official publications, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These publications remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.
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