UTC Fire & Security to install fire protection systems in world's largest cruise ship

UTC Fire & Security's Marioff, the world’s leading supplier of high-pressure water mist fire protection systems, has installed its HI-FOG® product in some large cruise ships, but when Marcus Hogblom, General Manager of the Marine and Offshore Development group, saw the blueprints for the Oasis of the Sea, his eyes widened. The largest cruise ship ever built would need 16,000 high pressure nozzles and other equipment.

Credit: Courtesy of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and STX Europe

Marioff won the Oasis contract and one for a similar vessel, the Allure of the Seas, both owned by Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the world’s second-largest cruise ship company. The Oasis of the Sea, which will accommodate 6,000 passengers and 2,100 crew members, is being built in a Finland shipyard and will be delivered in November.

“We were astonished that someone would actually try to build it,” said Hogblom. “It’s a luxurious version of a floating Las Vegas, with every kind of attraction you would want.”

Marioff is a unit of UTC Fire & Security and maintains a commanding position in the cruise ship industry. The HI-FOG® system is popular because it is proven to be efficient, uses less water than traditional sprinklers, and causes less water damage.

“The small amount of water needed is a huge advantage on ships,” noted UTC Fire & Security President Bill Brown after touring the Oasis. “With conventional sprinkler systems, the significant weight of water in the piping network throughout a large vessel can affect the ship’s stability.”

The system uses heat-sensitive bulbs, and when they break, sprinkler heads discharge water mist as a high-pressure fog, almost like a gas, so it does not drench furniture like conventional water systems. “You can usually dry it up in less than a day and be back in business,” said Hogblom. And because it is a fog, it reaches places in a room that a conventional sprinkler system will not reach.

Credit: Courtesy of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and STX Europe

Hogblom said ships that use conventional sprinklers can sometimes lose use of several cabins just because of water damage, and that can represent a sizeable chunk of lost revenue.

The ship includes a “town square” with dining, entertainment, and shopping; a 600-seat outdoor aquatheater; three pools, a fitness center, and a casino..

Hogblom said construction of the vessel, which is double the size of what is normally considered a large cruise ship, is a massive civil engineering project. Not only are there many subcontractors, equipment deliveries, and logistics to be coordinated, but the project also has had uncommon challenges.

For example, Marioff’s water mist system required piping throughout a ship that is long enough to accommodate four Boeing 747s in the hull. Installing high pressure nozzles throughout the ship’s luxury suites required coordination with architects and yard engineers who wanted to be sure they did not block lighting or air conditioning.

“Our seasoned project management team deserves a lot of credit for keeping this flowing in a smooth and timely manner,” Hogblom said. “With so many players involved, that’s a challenge.”

Marioff also needed to install a water mist system to protect the ship’s equipment, including a 97,000 kilowatt power plant and deep-fat fryers.

In addition to the Marioff HI-FOG® system, the Oasis also has a fire and gas detection system developed by Autronica, another UTC Fire & Security company.

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