Compatibility of CO2 Extinguisher Components

Posted by Michelle Howard
Friday, March 14, 2014
Figure 1: The obsolete diffuser on the right is cast differently than diffusers used today. Note the longer neck and placement of diffuser holes. The newer diffuser on the left is compatible with standard discharge hoses and has a shorter neck to allow it to properly seat when the hose is connected. See Figure 3 for how to determine if you have a CO2 extinguisher fitted with an obsolete diffuser that may be incompatible with standard industry discharge hoses.

A recent marine casualty investigation of a shipboard fire onboard a U.S. flagged vessel in the Hampton Roads Captain of the Port (COTP) zone raised serious concerns with regards to carbon dioxide (CO2) fire extinguisher servicing.  During shipboard fire-fighting operations a crewmember attempted to fight a fire using a 15lb CO2 extinguisher, but the extinguisher failed to properly discharge and only seeped from the neck of the extinguisher.  The fire was eventually extinguished by another crewmember using a dry-chemical fire extinguisher.

Following this shipboard fire, U.S. Coast Guard Investigators took the CO2 extinguisher that failed to discharge into evidence and had it analyzed by a fire-fighting servicing agency.  It was determined through this analysis that the extinguisher failed to properly function as a result of an obsolete diffuser that was incompatible with standard industry discharge hoses.

The incompatible combination of an obsolete diffuser and a standard industry discharge hose prevented the neck of the diffuser from properly seating when the discharge hose was connected.

The fire-fighting servicing agency that helped examine this CO2 fire extinguisher is currently taking steps to issue an agency wide safety alert requiring fire servicing technicians to replace any diffusers meeting the description of the one provided to the right in Figure 1.

This recent marine casualty highlights the importance for fire-fighting servicing agencies to ensure they are using fire extinguishers and components compatible with one another.  The use of components incompatible with one another, which happened in the case described in this safety alert, could have resulted in a much more serious marine incident.  To help reduce marine casualties similar to the one described in this safety alert, the U.S. Coast Guard strongly recommends the following measures:


  • That fire-fighting servicing agencies check all CO2 extinguishers during annual fire-fighting equipment servicing onboard contracted vessels and remove any diffusers of the same type and design as the one shown to the right in Figure 1.  These obsolete diffusers should be replaced with new diffusers that are compatible with the standard discharge hoses used in service today.
  • That fire-fighting servicing agencies, when discharging CO2 fire extinguishers as a part of periodic servicing (e.g. hydrostatic testing), discharge the extinguishers with the discharge hoses connected to ensure compatibility of all components and overall functionality of the extinguishers.  In the case described in this safety alert, doing so would have likely identified the inoperability of the extinguisher years before it was needed to fight a shipboard fire.
  • That marine employers and vessel operators conduct organizational audits and inspections of CO2 fire extinguishers currently in service and check for obsolete diffusers that may be incompatible with the standard discharge hoses in use today.

It is requested that any obsolete CO2 fire extinguisher diffusers that are identified as a result of this safety alert be reported immediately to the Sector Hampton Roads Investigations Division by calling (757) 668-5540 or emailing

This safety alert has been forwarded the U.S. Coast Guard’s Fifth District and U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters for distribution nationwide.  Any questions regarding this alert may be directed to the Sector Hampton Roads Investigations Division using the contact information provided above.


Maritime Today

The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter May 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

NASSCO Lays Keel for Jones Act Tanker Liberty

U.S. shipbuilder General Dynamics NASSCO hosted a keel laying ceremony on Thursday, May 26 for the Liberty, one of three new ECO Class Jones Act tankers under a

DSC Dredge Receives President’s E-Star Award

DSC Dredge, LLC, based in Reserve, La., has received the 2016 President’s “E-Star” Award for exports.   In a ceremony held on May 16, 2016, at the U.S. Department

TT Club Reports Robust Financial Results for 2015

TT Club has announced its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2015, and AM Best affirms its A- (Excellent) rating for the 10th consecutive year.   Knud Pontoppidan,


Deployment: The Transpacific Trade Steps Up To The Plate

In 2015, it was the Asia-Europe route which was the focus of changing deployment trends, says Clarksons Research.   This year, it is the Transpacific trade which

US Navy Updated Zika Virus Infection Guidance

Navy Medicine released updated Zika Virus Infection guidance in NAVADMIN 121/16, May 26, communicating current information, travel precautions, and risk reduction

CBP, AMO Unveils New Interceptor Vessel

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) and SAFE Boat International celebrated the unveiling of AMO’s newest coastal interceptor vessel (CIV) Thursday.

Marine Equipment

SRH Marine and Setel Powerline Pact for Greek Market

SRH Marine Electronics SA and SETEL PowerLine Ltd have entered a Reseller and Installation Partner Agreement.    Through this cooperation SRH is able to offer

GloMEEP Project Forges Ahead with Train-the-Trainer Workshop

A global Train-the-Trainer workshop on energy efficiency has been delivered in China (23-27 May), preparing the personnel needed to cascade knowledge on energy

Diana Charters Out Two Bulkers

Diana Shipping Inc. today announced that, through a separate wholly-owned subsidiary, it entered into a time charter contract with Bunge S.A., Geneva, for one of its Panamax dry bulk vessels,

Coast Guard

CBP, AMO Unveils New Interceptor Vessel

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) and SAFE Boat International celebrated the unveiling of AMO’s newest coastal interceptor vessel (CIV) Thursday.

Details El Faro's Sinking Emerge from US Probe

U.S. investigators on Friday concluded two weeks of hearings into the sinking of cargo ship El Faro in a hurricane last fall that included reports the vessel had

Defense Appropriations Bill Includes $1 Bln for US Icebreaker

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s FY2017 Defense Appropriations Bill has included $1 billion in funding to accelerate construction of a new polar icebreaker for the U.

Maritime Safety

Long Beach Port Maintains Strong Bond Rating

Fitch Ratings, one of the top three U.S. credit analysis agencies, has affirmed the Port of Long Beach’s “AA” rating on its outstanding debt. Fitch stated the AA rating — its highest for U.

Phoenix Express 2016 Concludes

Maritime forces from North Africa, Europe, and the United States concluded exercise Phoenix Express 2016 with closing ceremonies in Souda Bay, Greece May 27. Phoenix Express,

US Hospital Ship Aids South Korean Sailor

A U.S. hospital ship conducted a medical evacuation, or “medevac”, May 27 to assist an ailing Republic of Korea sailor aboard a Republic of Korea Navy (ROK-N) submarine.

Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2014 sec (5 req/sec)