Fire incidents

Fire is one of the greatest risks to vessels and everybody needs to be on constant guard to prevent fires. We have recently received the following reports of incidents involving fires.

Fire in crane 440V contact box

In this incident, a contact burnt out and set fire to adjacent cables and auxiliary switches. The complete contact, damaged cables and switches had to be renewed/repaired.

The company involved has reinforced planned maintenance/regular inspection schedules.

Fires involving laundry tumble dryers

Electrical component

In the first incident of this type, the main heater element in a tumble dryer overheated and ignited, possibly due to an insulation problem. The only damage was to other electrical components.

The defective part was replaced and all damaged areas were insulated.

The company involved has added regular inspection of insulation properties by the ETO to its maintenance regimes.

Lint build-up

In this incident, a heater element overheated due to a fault and lint (‘fluff’) behind the drum caught fire. The fire did not reach the vent. Due to a shortage of spare parts (the dryer was old), the dryer was replaced.

As a precaution, the vent trunking was thoroughly cleaned with any build-up of lint removed and the piping was improved to give better exhaust capability.

In this instance, the lint filters in the machine were found to be clean of build-up of lint, but the company involved has reiterated instructions to stewards on its vessels to ensure there is no build-up of lint prior to each use and to ensure that such units are never overloaded.

Fire in equipment space – welding in vicinity

During welding/burning on an adjacent wall or floor, a fire broke out in a machinery space on a vessel.

The company involved has reiterated the importance of its permit-to-work (PTW) system, along with the need to perform job safety analyses (JSAs) for all ‘hot work’ performed outside of designated hot work areas.

The company noted the following precautions to be included in the above:

  • fire watches at the point of hot operations and in other spaces above or below that may be affected by the work;
  • portable fire extinguishers and fire blankets to be present;
  • combustibles to be cleared away prior to commencement of the work.