Marine insurers warn of refrigerant risks

Fishing-risksUK: Two of the leading marine insurance companies have joined forces to warn of the potentially lethal risks of refrigerant leaks on fishing vessels.

The North P&I Club and the Shipowners’ Club have jointly published a technical loss prevention briefing on how to minimise the risks arising from poor operation and maintenance of refrigeration systems on fishing vessels.

“Refrigeration systems are installed and used on a large number of fishing vessels worldwide,” said Craig McBurnie, underwriting manager at North P&I company Sunderland Marine. “The sizes of these plants vary depending on purpose and application, but they can be on an almost industrial scale, particularly on vessels which freeze or process their catch on board,” he added.

“Unfortunately there have been numerous incidents involving these refrigeration systems in the past decade, mostly relating to uncontrolled escape of potentially toxic refrigerant gases. Many of these incidents have resulted in serious injuries, some fatal, to fishing vessel crew members and shore-based workers.”

Ammonia-equipment

Ammonia receivers with colour-coded pipework and protective grating around exposed parts

North’s loss prevention executive Alvin Forster commented: “With our shared commitment to improving fishing vessel safety, North, Sunderland Marine and Shipowners’ have shared and reviewed their respective claims experience and identified a number of common causal factors. Our new loss prevention briefing provides recommendations to fishing vessel owners and operators on how to help avoid future incidents.”

Causal factors identified by the insurers include fishing crews being unaware of the hazards of fluorocarbon and ammonia gas refrigerants; poor condition of the refrigeration plant and its components; poor standards of operation and maintenance of the refrigeration plant; and the positioning of unprotected refrigeration plant and equipment on the back deck or in busy working areas, with insufficient warning signage and impact protection.

In addition North says there have been failures to identify high-risk tasks relating to the plant operation and maintenance; insufficient or inadequate levels of formal training in refrigeration engineering and plant-specific operation; and defective or missing gas-leak detection alarms.

“In the event of a leak, rescue operations were sometimes carried out without using breathing apparatus or without following a safe procedure,” said McBurnie. “There was also evidence of poor emergency and evacuation procedures; a lack of crew familiarity in what to do in such an event; and improperly inspected and tested safety equipment.”   

Recommendations in the loss prevention briefing include the importance of crew members knowing and understanding the hazards of refrigeration systems; the need for safe systems of operation; the importance of regular and properly recorded maintenance; the need for safe design and positioning of retrofitted systems; and the importance of effective response management.

The document can be downloaded here.


Latest news from the world of air conditioning and refrigeration

UK News

1st December, 2016

steve-gowing-home

Stonegrove appoints Gowing

UK: Industrial refrigeration contractor Stonegrove Refrigeration has appointed Steve Gowing as design and project engineer.

1st December, 2016

javac-award-climate-center

Javac achieves Climate Center double

UK: Javac UK, the refrigerant recovery and vacuum pump supplier, has been named as Climate Centers’ Supplier of the Year for the second year running.

28th November, 2016

kevin-munson-home

Ruskin renamed Swegon Air Management

UK: Ruskin Air Management has been renamed Swegon Air Management following its acquisition by the Swedish manufacturer Swegon.

25th November, 2016

swep-tentlingen

SWEP to close Swiss plant

SWEDEN: Heat exchanger manufacturer SWEP is to close its manufacturing plant in Tentlingen, Switzerland, moving production to factories in Slovakia and Sweden.

World News

4th December, 2016

137284

Honeywell faces action over leak

USA: Seven local residents are reported to be suing Honeywell after a chemical leak at its Geismar, Louisiana, plant in August.

3rd December, 2016

daikin-czech-rep

Daikin Plzen plant is BES 6001 certified

BELGIUM: Daikin Europe’s factory in the Czech Republic has joined the group’s factory in Ostend by becoming certified to the BRE’s responsible sourcing standard.

3rd December, 2016

young-buskirk-chairmans-awards

AHRI rises to chairman’s challenge

USA: Parker Hannifin and Daikin were the big winners in a unique competition designed to raise the level of awareness of the HVACR industry both in school and government.

3rd December, 2016

aircon-teknik

Beijer Ref merges Danish businesses

DENMARK: Refrigeration wholesaler Beijer Ref has merged two of its Danish companies to form Aircon Teknik A/S.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
Leave A Comment