Pneumatic fenders are used to prevent damage to ship hulls or quaysides during ship-to-ship operations or when ships are moored. They are particularly important for at-sea ship-to-ship transfers of crude oil, LPG, and other crucial cargo.
Vertical designs are used with submarines or other vessels whose hull or part thereof is submerged deeper below the water line than that of conventional vessels.
The inflated rubber cushions are fitted with safety valves that release air from inside the fender, preventing rupture when internal pressure becomes excessive.
Conventionally, inspection of the safety valve is extremely costly: requiring landing the pneumatic fender with a crane, removing the air, and then removing the safety valve together with its flange opening.
With Yokohama’s new fittings, air-passage between the fender's body and the flange opening can be blocked by manually closing the valve. This, it said, ensures that the fender body remains airtight.
“This enables inspection of the safety valve while it is equipped on to the fender, significantly reducing downtime and maintenance costs,” said Yokohama.