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Thursday, January 15, 2009


Everyone knows about the effect of corrosion on a ship’s hull, but
few people consider the effect of corrosion on piping. Pipes pose
a hidden danger, a danger that is often forgotten about.

Pipes are silent workers, conveying fluid or allowing air to enter
or to leave a space, and are the means by which many control
systems operate. They are unnoticed until pipe failure occurs and
a machine stops operating, a space floods or oil is spilled. Pipes
penetrate almost every enclosed space, as well as the shell both
above and below the waterline, and the weather deck. There is no
system on a ship that has such enormous potential to cause fire,
pollution, flooding or even total loss.

The majority of ships’ pipes are constructed of ferrous material,
a material that is attacked by all forms of corrosion. As a ship
ages, so does the piping system. Maintenance is not always easy,
because pipes, unlike the hull, are difficult to examine because
of their numbers and inaccessibility. It is practically impossible
to maintain them internally, where most corrosion takes place,
and at times just as difficult to maintain a pipe’s external surface.
As a result, pipes can receive minimum maintenance, and pipe
failure is often the result.

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