Complying with CIC 2023 on Fire Safety: A best practice guide

On the announcement of a new CIC (Concentrated Inspection Campaign) on fire safety, SQE MARINE consulting firm provides guidance on how to effectively comply with the requirements.

The yearly CIC and other focused PSC inspections serve as timely reminders for businesses and seafarers to concentrate on particular areas where there may be a higher risk of accidents and/or non-compliance with international safety laws.

The CIC will last for three months, from September 1 to November 30, 2023, much like in previous years, and will be an additional component of regular PSC inspections during the campaign season. The PSC Officers (PSCOs) in attendance will employ a questionnaire designed to confirm particular subjects and regions important to the CIC.

In order to comply with fire safety requirements, as requested in the CIC questionnaire, operators need to consider the following and be prepared during the inspection:

#1 Are the emergency escape routes maintained in a safe condition?

Emergency escape routes should be clearly marked onboard. Where applicable rope with attached safety harness to be ready for use. No obstacles to prevent free passing through emergency escape route. Crew to be familiar with the emergency routes per compartment.

#2 Are the fire doors maintained in good working condition?

Fire doors to be checked for maintenance (absence of holes/penetrations etc). Check that they closed tightly. Close prevention means to be removed (except they are part of the system eg. Magnetic doors). Fire doors blocked to open position are one of the most common detainable issues.

#3 Has the fixed fire detection and fire alarm systems, been periodically tested in accordance with the requirements of the Administration?

All related alarms to be checked for functioning. Bridge/Engine room/fire station alarm panels to be tested as required for auditable alarms. Maintenance and test records to be available for demonstration. SMS / PMS to include testing procedure for fixed fire detection systems and alarms. Blocked fire or smoke detectors in ship’s compartments are very dangerous and in case PSCO spots them, the ship will be detained.

#4 Are ventilation closing appliances capable of being closed?

Check all fire dampers and ventilators to work as required. Appropriate marking to be colored to show open and close position. Remove rust from dampers so they can close tightly. Means to close the ventilation to be checked as per ships maintenance / inspection System.

#5 Are the means of control for power ventilation of machinery spaces operable from two grouped positions?

Check operational status of control for power ventilation of machinery spaces. Both position systems to be checked. Apart of functionality check that there are not any closing prevention means to ventilation systems.

#6 Can each fire pump deliver at least the two required jets of water?

Check equipment condition for leakages. The piping system supporting fire pumps should not have any soft patches. Check fire pumps (including emergency fire pump) for pressure. When operating in low temperature areas check fire main for icing. During fire drills check the water jet availability with one hose on the bridge and one hose in the aft deck.

#7 Are the means of control provided in a position outside the machinery space for stopping ventilation and oil transfer equipment operational?

Check the operational status of means stopping ventilation and oil transfer. Quick closing valves to be free from closing preventive means. Crew to be trained to activate the stopping procedure and then reset the system to open position as required. Permanent means preventive closing vales to operate usually lead to detention. Prior entering a port these items should be checked for functionality.

#8 Is the room for the fixed gas fire extinguishing medium used only for this purpose?

Check access control in the fixed gas extinguishing room. Operational step by step activation guidance should be posted next to activation control panel (for local activation). All items irrelevant to fire extinguishing system to be removed from the area.

#9 Are the valves used in the fire main line operational?

Check operational status of the valves. Maintenance and inspection records to be available for review. Prior entering a port these valves should be checked for functionality.

#10 Where a fire drill was witnessed, was it found to be satisfactory?

Fireman outfits and related equipment to be checked in detailed and crew should be familiar in use of them. A step-by-step drill to be performed under the supervision of Safety Officer and used as training session in order explain the reason of each step of the drill. Each crew member should know the duties and actions expected from him/her during the drill but mostly during a real time event.


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