U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Alert (05-09)

Inadvertent discharges of marine fire extinguishing systems.

July 21, 2009 - This Safety Alert addresses a critical problem involving ANSUL - High Pressure Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishing systems (Coast Guard Approval number 162.038/7). The Coast Guard has become aware of several instances where this particular fire extinguishing system has discharged without human intentional or accidental involvement.

The system manufacturer, ANSUL has identified the suspect CO2 cylinder valves as those having a date code between 10-07 and 06-08. This date code is located on a flat surface immediately above the threaded section which enters the cylinder and opposite the discharge outlet. See the attached ANSUL bulletin for important details.

The Coast Guard ** strongly recommends ** that owners and operators who have ANSUL High Pressure Carbon Dioxide Systems onboard their vessels and others who may own, sell or service these systems carefully follow the instructions on the attached ANSUL Bulletin.

This safety alert is provided for informational purposes only and does not relieve any domestic or international safety, operational or material requirement. Developed by the Office of Investigations and Analysis and the Office of Design and Engineering Standards, United States Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, DC.