Deficiency noted (outline of comment) by PSC: The spare charge of powder fire extinguisher was expired.
USCG officers have pointed out that spare charges of powder fire extinguishers were expired. Further, it has been also reported that the manufacture or product of spare powder differed from those of actual fire extinguishers onboard.
According to SOLAS II-2/188.8.131.52, portable fire extinguishers are to be maintained properly, including the spare charges. Whenever a defective condition such as the above is found, it will likely be pointed out as a deficiency.
Further, there is a possibility that the deficiency might be judged as grounds for detention indicating a lack of proper SMS implementation. Although there is no clear requirement concerning the validity date of powder in the FSS Code, it is generally considered necessary to refill the powder every 5 or 6 years, in principle. It is highly recommended that spare charges should also be replaced at the same time considering age deterioration, even though the expiration date of the charges is not specified by the manufacturer.
In light of the above situation, kindly please consider replacing the spare charges of powder fire extinguishers at the same intervals as the refilling intervals specified by the manufacturer, in addition to performing regular maintenance inspections of all spare charges.
- Raise awareness among the vessel staff with respect to this requirement.
- Check manufacturer instructions for onboard fire extinguishers regarding recharging intervals and ensure same is complied with.
- Verify expiry dates on the spare charges kept onboard and ensure no expired charges are in stock. If found, replace them on urgent basis.
- The inventory list of LSA/FFA equipment to include number of spare fire extinguishers charges available onboard along with their expiry dates.