The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) issued a technical alert, to highlight major deficiencies related to fuel oil quick closing valves, during Port State Control (PSC) inspections. These deficiencies are considered very important and generally lead to detention.
Quick closing valves are fitted to oil tanks so that in the event of a fire they can be safely closed from a remote location to stop the supply of fuel to the fire. These valves may be operated remotely by pull wires, hydraulics, compressed air, etc.
Recently, PSC have observed that quick closing valves have been modified or intentionally blocked to prevent them from closing. This practice has potentially catastrophic consequences in a fire emergency.
In view of this, BMA recommends:
- Quick closing valves are to be regularly maintained and tested. The inspection, maintenance and testing of quick closing valves is to be incorporated in the ship’s planned maintenance system.
- Quick closing valves should not be intentionally blocked or “gagged” in the open position to prevent operation. In cases where, temporarily, it is necessary to block a particular valve during testing or maintenance (e.g. to prevent loss of power or propulsion), care must be taken to return the Bahamas Maritime Authority blocked valve to operational condition immediately after completion of testing or maintenance.
- All owners, managers & Masters of Bahamian ships should ensure that all relevant crew members are familiar with the operation of the quick closing valves fitted to their ships.