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Hotel barge case study

Fire safety systems from Hochiki Europe have been fitted on a renovated hotel barge, operated by oil and gas company Perenco in Gabon. Able to hold up to 120 people, the barge has been designed to offer a home away from home for employees while they are working on the company’s oil exploration projects out at sea. Operating in such remote locations, having an life safety system designed for marine use is vital to protect the ship and all on board.

When renovating the barge, Perenco wanted to replace the ageing life safety products used throughout the vessel, to ensure it continued to comply with Gabonese regulations and, at the same time, was suitable for use at sea. The company tasked fire protection installers, Autochim, to keep the existing cabling. Jean-Marie Rabier, sales manager at Autochim recommended solutions from Hochiki Europe.

Rabier said: “The barge didn’t just have sleeping quarters, it had a wide range of zones, from the kitchens to the engine room, which all had unique life safety requirements that needed to be addressed. Hochiki Europe offered equipment specially developed for the marine environment that would be capable of meeting the needs of every space on the barge, ensuring the new system would offer the best possible protection for residents.”

Hochiki Europe’s ESP Marine Approved Intelligent range of analogue addressable fire safety systems were chosen for the project. In addition to having Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) and Germanischer Lloyd approval to EU Marine Equipment Directive requirements, the range consists of analogue addressable equipment that allows fire incidents to be located. In doing so, they can help minimise damage to the vessels on which they are installed, as well as reduce the risk to residents. Moreover, the ESP Intelligent range’s reliability and software enhancements can virtually eliminate the risk of false alarms, the makers say, helping to cut disruption to the daily routines of the barge’s residents.

Daniel Bon, regional sales manager at Hochiki Europe, added: “The barge has a high turnover of residents, as workers leave at the end of their cycles and new ones arrive to take over. As a result, many of the people on the ship may not be familiar with the layout of the vessel. This makes life safety system reliability even more important, to ensure residents are not unduly alarmed by false alerts and to ensure they remain relaxed and comfortable while they are living on the ship.”

In total, more than 139 optical smoke detectors were fitted across each deck of the ship, in addition to 17 rate of rise (ROR) heat detectors. Some 20 manual call points were installed around the barge, as well as 20 audible alarms and nine visual alarms. An addressable, marine approved fire panel was also installed, providing a single, central location from which the entire life safety system could be controlled and monitored, simplifying maintenance.

All of the products from Hochiki Europe were integrated into the existing cabling. This streamlined the project, which saved time and resources, and kept the time the barge spent out of use to a minimum. Astrid Bouchardie, HSE Manager, Perenco added: “Hochiki Europe and Autochim both worked hard to carry out the renovation of the barge’s life safety system on time and they more than delivered.

“The installation was completed quickly, minimising the amount of time the barge was out of action, as well as cutting the disruption to Perenco’s operations in Gabon. As a result, we now have a fully compliant, reliable fire safety system on the barge, ensuring we can continue to keep our workers comfortable and, above all, safe while they are out at sea.”

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