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Fatal engine room fire on suction dredger Arco Avon

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has published a report into a fatal fire in the engine room of the suction dredger, Arco Avon, in August 2015.

A fire broke out in the engine room while the vessel was loading a sand cargo approximately 12 miles offshore. The vessel’s third engineer was badly burned in the fire and later died as a result of his injuries. As a consequence of the fire, which was extinguished following activation of the COâ‚‚ smothering system, the vessel lost all power and remained at anchor with its dredging equipment partially deployed for 9 days until it could be taken under tow and delivered to a repair facility.

The MAIB investigation concluded that:

  • The third engineer was attempting to repair a failed fuel pipe when fuel, under pressure in the pipe, ignited;
  • No one else on board was aware of a failed fuel pipe or that the third engineer had apparently decided to repair it;
  • The third engineer was using a portable angle grinder to access the repair site and had underestimated the risk of doing so;
  • Possible contributing factors to the third engineer’s underestimation of risk were that he had neither carried out a formal risk assessment nor sought a permit to work before starting the repair.

The full MAIB report can be downloaded at

Members may wish to review the following:

Safety Event

Published: 20 September 2016
Download: IMCA SF 24/16

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