Fire: smoke coming from an expired line throwing cartridge kept for disposal

What happened?

A fire alarm went off; the location of the fire was confirmed, and a team went for investigation.  Heavy smoke was observed coming from a spare cabin.  The incident occurred on a vessel working within 500m of a rig.  The rig was informed, the vessel stopped work and immediately left the 500m safety zone.  A fully equipped fire team entered the cabin and it was found that the smoke was coming from an expired line-throwing apparatus (LTA) cartridge, which was being kept for disposal.

The expired LTA box was removed from the location and kept on the main deck.

What went wrong?  What were the causes?

  • The expired pyrotechnics were stored for an extended period onboard the vessel.
  • Inadequate work procedure and poor perception of risk.

What actions were taken?

The vessel crew made a prompt response to the situation, rapidly and professionally dealing with what could have been a serious fire.

What lessons were learned?

  • Expired pyrotechnics should be showed in an appropriate, safe and properly marked location;
  • Old pyrotechnics should not be stored on the vessel for long periods.