The Bahamas Maritime Authority issued a technical alert to highlight issues concerning sprinkler heads, related to leaking bulbs and external corrosion effects, which can impair the automatic release of the sprinkler head.
Namely, the BMA is aware of a number of Port State Control findings related to sprinkler heads that have been found with empty glass bulbs. Following an investigation with the sprinkler system suppliers, the root cause for the unexpected empty bulbs was identified to be due to “external hits” (i.e. contact damage).
It should be noted that external contact damage can happen either prior to installation (e.g. during transport and storage) and whilst fitted in place (e.g. accidental damage during luggage handling, gym, play room etc.). External contact may cause “micro cracks” in the glass bulb that are not necessary visible, which could result in the liquid leaking or evaporating from the bulb.
When the liquid leaks or evaporates from the bulb, the system may not operate as designed. Sprinkler heads with no liquid in the glass bulb therefore need to be replaced, though a small bubble in the liquid is acceptable.
Companies should ensure that spare sprinkler heads are stored and transported carefully to avoid damage and should ensure that they comply with any service bulletins or recommendations issued by suppliers.
Suppliers have also highlighted issues related due to external corrosion of sprinkler heads, which can impair sprinkler head performance, BMA adds.
During routine inspections, special attention should be given to sprinkler heads subject to aggressive atmospheres (e.g. in galleys and saunas).
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