Sparks from funnel caused small fire

What happened?

A small fire was detected on the well deck area of a diving support vessel (DSV).  This occurred during diving operations whilst the vessel was in DP3 mode.

The fire was extinguished by the Bosun, using two foam extinguishers.  There was no injury to personnel or damage to equipment.

The correct protocol was followed by vessel personnel – activation of manual fire alarm and muster of all personnel; an amber light given to dive control (together with verbal warning of fire). The dive supervisor then ordered divers back to the Bell.

What went wrong?

The fire resulted from sparks which fell from the starboard funnel into the well deck area and ignited a 1 tonne gabion sack containing cardboard (which was being stored for onshore recycling).

What were the causes?

  • A build-up of soot in the exhaust system, caused by prolonged operation of vessel engines in low load;
  • Lack of maintenance routine for clearing of soot within the system.

What actions were taken?

  • Extensions installed onto drain plugs to provide easier access for planned maintenance activities;
  • As a secondary precaution, gauze type spark arrestors manufactured and installed on top of each exhaust stack;
  • Update planned maintenance regimes, with regard to the cleaning of soot collectors and routine checks for soot removal.