Why understand and maintain fixed fire extinguishing systems?

Coltraco Commitment To :

  • Through-life maintenance support
  • We still maintain units built 20 years ago
  • Extend trade-in credits - replace old units for new
  • UL listing & ABS type approval - Portalevel™ MAX
  • ABS type approval & RINA approval - Portascanner™
  • Be a life-safety technology partner – Permalevel™
  • Certified OEM calibration & ODA service stations

Coltraco manufacture Ultrasonics That Work

Why understand and maintain fixed fire extinguishing systems?

The catastrophic consequences of fires on board Ro-Ro ships in the last decade, particularly on-board the “Norman Atlantic” in December 2013 and the “Sorrento” in April 2015, have pushed this issue into the limelight. They have encouraged studies from internationally acclaimed bodies such as the International Union of Marine Insurers (IUMI) and DNV GL. These studies confirm that the risk of fire is twice as great on Ro-Ro boats than on many other cargo and passenger vessels. Fire remains the number one cause for port state control detaining ships.  Consequently, the maintenance and proper understanding of a vessel’s fixed fire extinguishing (FFE) systems is critical. These boats, as with any vessel at sea, must act as their own fire-rescue system and be able to tackle on-ship fires in a safe, efficient and self-contained manner. As such, proper understanding and maintenance of FFE are of crucial importance, not just for cargo security and reduced insurance claims, but most fundamentally to protect human life through safe-ship practice.

The FFE systems on-board Ro-Ro vessels typically include CO2 gas cylinders for fire suppression. These large gas cylinders are stored under pressure, and consequently are subject to risk of leakage or accidental discharge; any small change in pressure of a gas cylinder can result in pressure falling below the point at which fire suppression would be effective. Currently, to ensure the effectiveness of these systems and abide by legal requirements, periodic inspections are conducted annually or biennially by an Accredited Service Agent i.e. an external Marine Servicing Company. However, the IMO SOLAS FSS Code also requires inspection of cylinders in between these periodical tests by the vessel’s own onboard crew.

Typical methods for on-ship regular cylinder inspection primarily consists of trained professionals weighing the chosen cylinder, to assess if there has been weight loss due to gas leakage. However, although this method is widely used, it is ultimately unsafe practice, requiring constant handling of tanks in a delicate, high-pressure state, usually at 720psi or approx.50 bar. To tackle this issue, technological advances have been made to create portable ultrasonic liquid level indicators which serve as liquid gaseous inspection equipment. Coltraco Ultrasonics is one such company providing safe, simple, non-invasive monitoring equipment that facilitates regular inspection of FFE gaseous systems. Through use of Ultrasonic Technology, these products are able to accurately and quickly assess the liquid level of CO2 or clean agent (commonly FM-200® or NOVEC™ 1230) suppression systems, in order to identify leakage or accidental discharge.


CEO Message

Integrity and Science Key to Our Culture of Performance

Dear Coltraco Customers, Strategic Partners and Distributors,

Integrity is our defining value. Performance is its consequence. We understand that our customers have choices, and how we perform determines whether customers choose us. Coltraco’s Code of Ethics does not merely require compliance with laws. It embodies a Commitment to positive behaviours that build trust, promote respect, operate with distinction, with courtesy and global levels of performance, demonstrating our integrity and delivering customer performance.

We honour our commitments, communicate transparently, and act with honour. Ethics are the foundation of our performance culture and our science-based approach. We lead in specific technologies delivering the watertight integrity monitoring of marine structures and the monitoring of fixed liquefied gaseous fire extinguishing systems and the room integrity of protected space to ensure agent hold-times post-installation. We show this by our understanding of the science in them and the mathematics that explain them.

I would like to thank you for your business and for the relationships with our Customers, Strategic Partners, Distributors and ODAs who we value so highly.

My kindest regards,

Carl Stephen Patrick Hunter BA(Dunelm) Hon DSc FRINA FIMarEST MRAeS
CEO & Managing Director
Coltraco Ultrasonics Limited
46-47 Mount Street, Mayfair, London W1K 2SA
United Kingdom

Tel:  +44 20 7629 8475
Fax: +44 20 7629 8477

Call Now : +44 207 629 8475


References in PDF Format


Underwriters LaboratoriesUnderwriters Laboratories


Reference Alpha Fire UK Portalevel MAX Sept 2012

Reference Portascanner-II CSD MOD Albion and Bulwark





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