One Dead In Stolt Valor Explosion/Fire

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Mar 152012

Stolt Valor is on fire in the Persian Gulf. Photro: US Navy

One seafarer is missing and 25 are understood to be safe following an explosion and fire aboard the chemical tanker Stolt Valor while transitting the Persian Gulf.  Two coalition warships, the US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones and Coast Guard Cutter Baranof rescued 24 crewmembers.

The John Paul Jones, assigned to Combined Maritime Forces Task Force 152, responded to a 2am distress call from Stolt Valor, operating in international waters 48 nautical miles southeast of Farsi Island, Iran.

When the John Paul Jones’s crew spotted one of two life rafts signaling with a small light and launched the ship’s rigid-hull inflatable boat to investigate, they found 16 people in the first raft and eight more in the other.

Stolt Valor’s master confirmed one crew member died during an explosion. The 24 rescued mariners were in good health and did not require medical help. Continue reading »

Article Of Note: Escape Routes From Machinery Spaces

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Mar 092012


Mandating a protected means of escape from control room machinery spaces is a measure long overdue says David Smith in a review of the fire board the car-carrier Rio Blanco published in the current edition of IMarEST’s Marine Engineers Review. Three seafarers died after an oil spill escalated into a major fire.

Lack of fire protection for the means of evacuation in this incident has led to a call for extensions to SOLAS that will  mandate two means of escape from machinery spaces, one of which must provide continuous fire shelter to a safe position outside the machinery space.

Chile, Denmark, Norway and Sweden have submitted a joint proposal to the IMO subcommittee on fire protection, FP54, but progress has been stymied by debate over how to defined an enclosed room.

David Smith’s piece provides insight into the Rio Blanco tragedy – the official report is only available in Spanish – and highlights the need to get the issue of safe escapes for control room machinery spaces off the back burner.

Forth Leopard Fire “Textbook”

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Mar 052012

Forth Leopard. Photo: Forth Pilots

The Forth Leopard, a Forth Pilot Boat, reported an engine room fire to Forth Coastguard at 3.30am on Saturday.

The two crew reported that there was a fire in the engine room and that they were in the middle of the Firth of Forth. They had used the onboard fire control system to seal the engine room and believed the fire was under control. There were no reported injuries.

Forth Coastguard sent the RNLI lifeboat from Kinghorn and the Forth Ports tug Fidra to the scene. Fidra towed Forth Leopard to Leith Docks where it was met by Lothian and Borders Fire Service who investigated the fire. Fisherrow Coastguard Rescue Team was also at the docks to monitor the situation.

Gordon Downard Watch Manager Forth Coastguard says: “Fire on a vessel at sea is every mariners nightmare but this was a textbook example of how it should be dealt with”.


QM2 Explosion/Powerloss: “critical equipment must ‘fail safe’,

 Accident, Accident report, engine room, explosion, fire  Comments Off on QM2 Explosion/Powerloss: “critical equipment must ‘fail safe’,
Jan 182012

In its investigation of an explosion and loss of propulsion aboard the RMS Queen Mary 2 Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch warns that protection systems for critical equipment must ‘fail safe’, and should be thoroughly tested at regular intervals to prove that all sub-components are functioning correctly. In particular, harmonic filters with current imbalance protection systems should be thoroughly checked by a competent person at the earliest opportunity.

Investigation of the catastrophic failure of a capacitor and explosion in the aft harmonic filter room  showed that the protection system for the harmonic filter did not work. As a result the vessel blacked out and was without steering or propulsion for 30 minutes. There were 3823 people on board.

Says MAIB: “there is a need to improve the awareness of the potential risks of high voltage harmonic distortion and arc flash… Awareness of the damaging effects of harmonic distortion needs to improve throughout the marine industry as the risks to equipment caused by harmonic distortion are likely to increase significantly as variable speed AC electric motors become more widely used in ships”.
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Pirates Burn Pacific Express

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Sep 242011

Pirates tried fire to force seafarers from the citadel

Earlier 21 September , NATO’s counter piracy flag ship, Italian Ship (ITS) Andrea Doria, rescued the crew of M/V Pacific Express, 180 nautical miles off the coast of Kenya. M/V Pacific Express had reported being under pirate attack on September 20, 2011.

ITS Andrea Doria responded to the distress call and closed in on M/V Pacific Express during the night of September 20. After evaluating the situation, the NATO warship assessed that pirates were no longer on board. As heavy smoke was coming out of the M/V, ITS Andrea Doria decided to send a boarding team to evacuate the crew and rescued all 26 crewmembers (25 Filipinos and 1 Ukrainian) who had locked themselves inside the safety zone of the merchant ship.
According to the crew, the fire was the result of the pirates’ attempts to force them out of their confinement. They also reported hearing gun shots and possibly a RPG being fired during their time in the safety zone. They suffered no injuries and are now being transferred to Mombasa.

ITS Andrea Doria has been engaged in Operation “Ocean Shield” to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia under the command of Rear Admiral Gualtiero Mattesi since June 14, 2011.

London Club Warns Of Trinidad DRI Explosion Hazards

 explosion, fire, fire/explosion, Safety Alerts  Comments Off on London Club Warns Of Trinidad DRI Explosion Hazards
Sep 112011

A Trinidadian company has been trying to ship HBI Fines. now known as DRI C, without complying with the mandatory requirements of the IMSBC Code warns the London P&I Club in its latest edition of it StopLoss bulletin.

Says the club: “Long-standing concerns about the carriage of Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) increased significantly after casualties on the Marshall Islands flagged Ythan in 2004. A chemical reaction between the DRI C cargo and water contained therein resulted in the production of hydrogen, which accumulated under the hatch covers before igniting and exploding. Industry concerns led to the introduction of specific provisions for the carriage of DRI C in the IMSBC Code.
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Sheared Bolts = Loose Fuel = Fire

 fire, fire/explosion, maritime safety news, Safety Alerts  Comments Off on Sheared Bolts = Loose Fuel = Fire
Sep 022011

An Offshore Support Vessel was being towed astern of a rig during a rig move transit operation when a fire was reported from the main engine room of the vessel. The engine room fire suppression system (Hi-Fog Water Mist) was automatically activated, emergency fuel shut-off valves closed to shut off fuel supply to the affected engine and vessel emergency response procedures initiated.

The fire was effectively extinguished within 10 minutes by the vessel’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) personnel using portable extinguishers. Following checks on
the main engine(s) and safety equipment, vessel was able to continue operations safely with remaining 3 engines.
The source of the fire was subsequently identified as due to fuel oil leaking from the flange on a Fuel Injector Pump on main engine No.2. The fuel return line had come loose at the flange due to one of two securing bolts shearing and the other working loose. Fuel sprayed from the leaking flange and impinged upon the adjacent hot lagging of the main engine exhaust and turbo charger resulting in ignition and subsequent fire.

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Green Car Caused Pearl Fire

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Sep 012011

Why the battery-pack of an electric car burst into flames while aboard the ro-ro ferry Pearl of Scandinavia remains unknown but the incident has increased calls for international initiatives in order to prevent fire and enhance the fire resistance on the car decks on ro-ro passenger ships.

Denmark’s Maritime Authority, DMA, has issued it’s report on the incident: “At 05:58 a fire alarm indicated fire on the car deck and it was established that some cars and trailers were on fire in two sections on the car deck aft in the port side.

“The fire was extinguished by the ship’s sprinkler systems and subsequently by the
ship’s fire-fighting teams assisted by Swedish fire-fighters who had been flown to the
ship by helicopter.

“The cause of the fire was an electric car that was being charged during the voyage.
After having recognized the fire, all passengers were evacuated to safe areas in the
ship. Neither the passengers nor the crew were injured”.

Pearl of Scandinavia is the most recent ro-ro ferry fire. It follows the Commodore Clipper in June 2010, Lisco Gloria in October 2010 and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern on 20 November 2010.

Says DMA: “These fires have a number of features in common… Based on the fires on the car decks on PEARL OF SCANDINAVIA, Commodore Clipper, Lisco Gloria and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the reports issued, the Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board recommends that the Danish Maritime Authority in co-operation with the industry and other relevant parties assess the need to promote international initiatives in order to prevent fire and enhance the fire resistance on the car decks on ro-ro passenger ships”.

Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation board issued a safety bulletin regarding refrigerated trucks carried on board ferries.

DMA Report

MAIB Safety Bulettin 3


Yeoman Bonstrup Fire, Explosion Debris Dunnit

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Aug 282011

On 2 July 2010, a major fire and explosion occurred on board the Bahamian- registered, self-unloading (SUL) bulk carrier Yeoman Bontrup during cargo loading. The fire spread rapidly, resulting in significant damage to the vessel. Fortunately, injuries were minor.

A routine post-discharge survey identified the need for repairs to Yeoman Bontrup’s cargo discharge hopper, which required hotwork on arrival at the remote Glensanda Quarry on Loch Linnhe.

At 1519, a fire was discovered near the bottom of the vertical cargo conveyor belt.
Although attempts were made to extinguish the fire, it spread to the adjacent engine room. Overwhelmed by the scale of the fire, the crew evacuated the ship. The fire spread rapidly to the accommodation and into the steering gear compartment, which contained a wide variety of ship’s-use chemicals. A violent explosion followed which tore the poop deck from the ship.

The most likely cause of the fire was the ignition of the vertical conveyor belt by hot debris from the hopper repair work. Although the vessel was built to the required standards, the fire spread quickly. This was because there was no effective means of early detection, no means of dividing the large cargo handling area for containment purposes, and no fixed fire-fighting system in the cargo handling area to deal with the fire.

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