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Fire hazard posed by personal electronic devices

What happened?
A fire incident occurred in a seafarer’s cabin due to a faulty mobile phone charger. The charger was left plugged in while unattended and an electrical short circuit ignited some paper on a desk.
Similar incidents can occur with other personal electronic devices, such as laptop computers, radios, and gaming systems.
Fires reported involving personal electronic devices have been attributed by the following causes:
• Inappropriate use of an electronic device;
• Use of defective electronic devices and extension cords;
• Overloading an extension cable or multi-outlet adapter;
• Overloading electrical circuits by plugging too many devices into a single outlet;
• Storing combustible materials (such as paper and clothing) on or under electrical devices.

What actions were taken?

The Master was to remind all crew to:

  • Unplug electronic devices when unattended or not in use;
  • Inspect electronic devices and associated cords before use;
  • Not to store any flammable or combustible materials on or under electronic devices;
  • Ensure that voltage and frequency of an electrical device is compatible with the vessel electrical system.

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 28 October 2019
Download: IMCA SF 25/19

Relevant life-saving rules:
IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

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IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.