Proper response to engine room fires vital

Feb 01 2019

With an average cost of $1.85 mill, engine room fires cost nearly six times more than the average for H&M claims in general, The Swedish Club claimed.

The quality of the crew’s response can have a significant impact not only on the cost of the fire, but more importantly on the safety of those on board.


As a result, The Swedish Club has published ‘Dealing with Engine Room Fires’, a publication which provides an insight into three major incidents dealt with by the Club that involve engine room fires.


The case studies describe the situation in detail, and feature commentary provided by Peter Stålberg, Senior Technical Advisor at The Swedish Club. He explained: “Preventing an engine room ?re is the priority, but the time and effectiveness of the response is almost as important. Although a crew has taken all reasonable precautions, an engine room ?re can still occur without warning.


“A swift and effective response within a few minutes may limit the damage to soot washing and less than $200,000 in costs. Yet I have seen cases where delaying the response or failing to operate the ?re extinguishing system properly, has allowed the ?re to intensify and spread, causing severe damage and cost more than $3 mill, “ he said.


He added: “Of course prevention must always be at the forefront of our approach to these incidents. Not surprisingly, one of the dominating causes is lube-oil or fuel-oil mist spraying onto hot surfaces and then igniting.  The SOLAS requirements concerning oil piping in engine rooms are clear; all types of oil pipes must be screened and ?anges protected so that any eventual leak will not spray onto a hot surface. Any surface with a temperature above 220 deg C must be thermally insulated.


“Over time, however, when overhauling engine room machinery and removing/re?tting exhaust pipes, the insulation will deteriorate,” explained Stålberg. “An exhaust pipe system insulated to 95% is not good enough – it must be 100% intact – always.”


****On 23rd January, 2019, S&P Global Ratings raised its insurer financial strength and issuer credit ratings on The Swedish Club to A- with stable outlook.


S&P reported that through disciplined underwriting and strong risk controls The Swedish Club has continued to record combined ratios close to 100%, despite testing conditions in its main markets.  It believes that these improvements, combined with a sturdy operating performance, should enable the club's capital position to remain resilient to market challenges over the next 24 months.


Managing director, Lars Rhodin, said: “This is an important step for The Swedish Club and will enable us to further develop our growth and diversification strategies around the world.  As a mutual society, this news is a testimony to the quality and support of our members and to the commitment and expertise of our team.


“We were particularly pleased to note that S&P remarked upon the club’s strong underwriting discipline, which reflects ongoing improvements we have made to our enterprise risk management (ERM) capabilities. We have worked to reduce volatility in our capital position and have ensured that the Club is well-positioned for further development. 


“S&P has recognised the club’s commitment to deliver robust underwriting performance and preserve extremely strong capital adequacy in the future. During difficult operating conditions the management team has worked to keep a steady hand on the tiller, and we are delighted to see that dedication rewarded,” he said.


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