VIKING Life-Saving Equipment is driving more investment into its marine fire service business. The inauguration of VIKING’s Foam Lab Odense, which specializes in the testing of a vessel’s reserves of firefighting foam, intensifies the company’s focus on marine fire service, a segment earmarked for significant growth in the coming years.
“Our ambition is to cover all aspects of marine firefighting equipment, and our new state-of-the-art laboratory puts us on the global map in this segment, too. Our class approvals comply with IMO regulations for testing all foam types, and we expect to receive DANAK accreditation in the course of 2021 as the ultimate stamp of approval for our work,” says Anders Nørgaard Lauridsen, head of VIKING’s activities in and around the Baltic region.
If a vessel’s foam is over three years old, it is mandatory for the vessel to undergo an annual foam test at a reputable laboratory. VIKING can offer a simple, user-friendly package solution, whereby shipowners purchase a test kit comprising a container for collecting a foam sample, instructions on how to take the sample on board and a prepaid shipping label. When the foam is received at the lab, it is subjected to a barrage of tests to establish degree of expansion, drainage time, pH value, density and contamination, to ensure – among other things – that the foam will effectively extinguish a fire. A service check list and data are saved electronically via an iPad, and a certificate is issued to verify completion of the test. This ensures traceability and enables monitoring of the condition of the foam.
Experienced specialist at the helm
There are two specialists at the foam lab, both able to perform a variety of tests, including low and high expansion tests, chemical resistance tests, small scale fire tests and conductivity tests. When foam samples are received, they are heat-treated for 24 hours before being mixed with saline solution and subjected to a meticulous testing program, defined according to current IMO standards.
“VIKING’s Marine Fire Service strategy will initially handle more than 1,000 foam samples a year, which we’ll receive directly from global shipowners and our servicing stations,” says Anders Nørgaard Lauridsen.
Ove Andersen joined VIKING in mid-May to head Foam Lab Odense. He is a qualified marine engineer and has extensive experience, gained from 15 years as an operations manager in the district heating sector and subsequently from his three years at the DFL fire testing laboratory in Svendborg, Denmark. He is wholly familiar with international test standards and quality management systems, including IMO1312, IMO670, other regulations for foam testing and requirements for test equipment.
“The thought of building something from scratch at VIKING appealed to me. There are relatively few, yet important, standards for this segment, and from my background in the fire sector, I can say that it’s vital for vessels to have good quality foam on board – particularly foam that’s expandable and has adequate drainage time. The same applies here as to other VIKING products: human lives are at stake,” says Ove Andersen.
Strong position in the face of global competition
VIKING has hired Lone Friis, who holds a bachelor’s degree in laboratory, food and process technology, to assist at the foam lab. The new team of two has recently taken delivery of a sophisticated testing device, which optically reads drainage time and ensures a consistent test process.
“We’re a global player with the support of a strong network, and our foam lab will strengthen our maritime customers’ perception of us as a competent partner and full-service supplier to the marine fire service segment, too,” says Anders Nørgaard Lauridsen.
Marine fire service is often sourced as part of VIKING’s multi-annual service contract for maritime operators, the VIKING Shipowner Agreement (SOA), and is also offered to the oil and gas industry as part of our Offshore Service Agreement (OSA). Foam analysis is a naturally intergrable part of both of these agreement concepts.