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Vulcan: A Synthetic Emergency Tow-off PendantCM_B06_Vulcan OSG Houston 071310 008.jpg

Emergency tow-off pendants (ETOPs), commonly referred to as “fire wires,” provide a means of towing the ship away from the dock in the event of a fire. Wire rope is currently used in this application; however, the handling of these heavy wire ropes has resulted in many injuries to deckhands. Samson has developed a synthetic alternative called Vulcan, which is significantly lighter and eliminates “fishhooks,” broken wires that protrude from the wire rope that result in hand injuries. Maintenance costs are also reduced when using synthetic ropes in comparison with wire ropes.
Since no testing standards or high heat performance requirements exist, Samson has developed a set of testing parameters by which to compare Vulcan to wire. Table 1 provides a comparison between wire and Vulcan with regard to the OCIMF minimum breaking strength requirements. The patented synthetic ETOP Vulcan is made of Technora® fiber in conjunction with a proprietary fire-resistant coating that meets the OCIMF required breaking strength after exposure to flames and a high-temperature environment.
Because some strength is lost when Vulcan is exposed to high temperatures, the user may chose to use a larger diameter so that its retained strength still meets the required break strengths even when operating under severe heat or flame conditions. Table 2 represents the rope sizes that meet the OCIMF strength requirements. Ropes at these sizes were tested at 575°F (300°C) after being held at 20% of their break strengths for 30 minutes at the same temperature. Note that the wire sizes are larger here than in Table 1. This is due to the strength loss that is also observed in wire when exposed to the same high-temperature testing parameters as the synthetic rope.