202113 Soot blowing causes deck fire

31 Jan 2021 MARS 2021

A vessel had just left dry dock and was underway to another port for bunkering. In the late afternoon, a fire broke out on the poop deck in the area used for garbage collection. Within minutes the fire party mustered and was able to extinguish the fire without further incident.
The company investigation found that a quantity of combustible material, such as craft papers and plastic covers used to protect the ship’s alleyways while in dry dock, had been left on deck and not secured in closed containers. A soot-blowing procedure was undertaken while underway, and it is probable that hot embers ignited the loose garbage.

Lessons learned

  • Loose garbage is always a hazard, for fires but also for safety and cleanliness.
  • Certain activities, such as dry dock, can leave inordinate amounts of waste on board. Proper planning can alleviate this hazard.
  • Soot blowing can introduce fire hazards on deck and company procedures should take this into account.