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Stena and Samsung specify SoftEx extinguishing systems

SoftEx low-pressure water mist fire extinguishing systems have been specified by leading European ferry operators both for system upgrades and for newbuildingsFerry operator Stena UK has contracted SoftEx-MacGREGOR to supply new fire extinguishing system upgrades on five ferries: Stena Seafarer, Stena Caledonia, Stena Europe, Stena leader and Stena Pioneer. The ships are scheduled for upgrade during 2005, before 1 October, and currently sail between UK and Ireland.

SoftEx is marketed by MacGREGOR under an exclusive distributor and service agreement for the marine sector.

Being turn-key deliveries, the contract includes design, supply all necessary equipment, installation and commissioning according to classification requirements. Most of the work will be carried out whilst the vessels are in regular service, and commissioning carried out around the time of refit.

Newbuildings
Additionally, Samsung has contracted SoftEx for three 34,000gt newbuildings (Nos 1523, 1524 & 1574) for UK-based Norfolk Line. The RoPax ferries also include delivery of RoRo equipment from MacGREGOR. The first ferry is scheduled for handover this summer, to be followed at four-month intervals by the other two. The fire-extinguishing contract includes design, system approval and key component delivery whilst Samsung undertakes pipework and installation, with final support of a MacGREGOR commissioning engineer.

MacGREGOR SoftEx water mist fire-extinguishing system has a number of advantages over traditional installations. It is a low-pressure system about 4 bar at the nozzle hence power requirements are low, between 22kW and 30kW. SoftEx is easy to install, using thin walled piping with fast-fit couplings, without the need for strengthening behind the nozzle, so it can be directly mounted to wall or ceiling panels.

The system extinguishing technique is fully approved and all components including the centrifugal pumps, normal PN16 valves and piping are chosen for simplicity, low weight and proven reliability.

In addition to use in accommodation/public areas, the system can also be used in machinery spaces, galleys and pantries, provisions stores including alcohol stocks and spaces with electrical equipment.

Approval soon
This year the system has completed further rigorous testing to gain approvals for application in complete engine rooms. Testing was successful and final approval will follow by mid-2005. This latest development confirms the SoftEx system as a superior and proven product that gives clear benefits to owners compared with traditional systems on offer, said Ismo Matinlauri, new-product manager in MacGREGOR Service division.

The system uses about 80 per cent less water than a traditional sprinkler system, achieved by adding a small amount of fire-extinguishing additive to the water, reducing water droplet size to a fine mist (100µm - 600µm). The water mist cools gases very quickly, therefore limiting damage and reducing the spread of a fire.

SoftEx systems comply with Solas II-12, A.800, and IMO Circ 913 and are type approved by American Bureau of Shipping, Det Norske Veritas, Lloyd Register, Germanischer Lloyd, Bureau Veritas, the Finnish Maritime Administration, the Swedish SNMA, MED, Russian Register, Registro Italiano Navale, and JG Japan.

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