Marine insurers warn of refrigerant risks

Two of the leading marine insurance companies have joined forces to warn of the potentially lethal risks of refrigerant leaks on fishing vessels.

The North P&I Club and the Shipowners’ Club have jointly published a technical loss prevention briefing on how to minimise the risks arising from poor operation and maintenance of refrigeration systems on fishing vessels.

“Refrigeration systems are installed and used on a large number of fishing vessels worldwide,” said Craig McBurnie, underwriting manager at North P&I company Sunderland Marine. “The sizes of these plants vary depending on purpose and application, but they can be on an almost industrial scale, particularly on vessels which freeze or process their catch on board,” he added.

“Unfortunately there have been numerous incidents involving these refrigeration systems in the past decade, mostly relating to uncontrolled escape of potentially toxic refrigerant gases. Many of these incidents have resulted in serious injuries, some fatal, to fishing vessel crew members and shore-based workers.”

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The document can be downloaded here