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Old 12-21-2018, 05:07 PM   #1
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Onboard Fire Lessons Learned

A few days ago the NTSB released its report regarding the Island Lady, the casino shuttle vessel that operated out of Pithlachascotee River, near Port Ritchey, Florida. She caught fire and was intentionally grounded last January, there were several injuries and one fatality. I've studied the abstract and believe there are a number of worthwhile lessons to be learned, some of which I've covered in this editorial https://stevedmarineconsulting.com/u...num-corrosion/

Among others are diesel fuel tank sight glass valves, and the need for these to remain closed other than when checking fuel levels.
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Old 12-21-2018, 05:31 PM   #2
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Steve,
Was curious if there was any information regarding the boats fire suppression system. Seems the required automatic engine room suppression system should have triggered, maybe before the wood became involved.

Ted
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Old 12-22-2018, 09:22 AM   #3
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OC

No mention of it in the abstract other than to say triggering it would have shut down the other engine, although that could have been overridden. Speculation, but it appears the fire started in the lazarette and become fully involved there, so the engine room suppression system couldn't play much of a role.
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Old 12-22-2018, 10:36 AM   #4
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What I learned about fire suppression from having the PCB on an appropriately fused propane sniffer start to smoke about 1,000 miles from Hawaii is to always have a pair of wire cutters handy.

For boats with emergency de watering pumps on board, adding a raw water pickup via a thru hull and a fire hose connection on the outlet at least gives you the option of pumping 100 gpm of sea water on to a blaze.

I provided for this on Delfin, as much with the idea of dealing with a marina fire near me in mind than anything else.
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Old 12-22-2018, 10:52 AM   #5
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Once resin catches fire and spreads to places not visible to a direct stream of water, less than foam to smother is going to be a crapshoot on smaller vessels.
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Old 12-30-2018, 08:24 AM   #6
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Once resin catches fire and spreads to places not visible to a direct stream of water, less than foam to smother is going to be a crapshoot on smaller vessels.

X2. We were called once for a bassboat fire. It started in the battery compt with no battery switch. By the time we got there the glass was going. 100 gpm from a Honda powered pump would not put it out. We had to drag it to shore and use foam from an engine. Foam extinguished the fire in seconds.


Your best chance it to extinguish the fire is at the point of origin before it spreads. That means the right type of extinguishers located near the points of ignition for fast attack. CO2 or Halon types in the ER.
Proper fuses and battery cut-off switches to de-energize electrical fires quickly.

Try to find room for one pressurized water/foam extinguisher if your boat is big enough.
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Old 12-30-2018, 09:58 AM   #7
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In this case , it was pointed out to me that it was a wood boat.

Depending on compartmentalization, foam might still be the ticket to get in tough to reach places.
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Old 12-30-2018, 10:47 AM   #8
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Try to find room for one pressurized water/foam extinguisher if your boat is big enough.
Does anyone know a source for a small one? Kiddie made them for a little while, then quit, don't know why. Tests on them done by consumer organizations showed they were much better than dry chemical, and much easier to clean up.
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Old 12-30-2018, 10:56 AM   #9
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Kind of dancing around the real issue here. You get a high temp alarm on an engine, you do a few things immediately:

1. Reduce power

2. Shut it down

3. Go in the ER and check things out.

If there is a fire in the exhaust FG tubes, if you catch it early it can be put out with a handheld FE. With engine shut down, if internals are on fire, it will quickly be starved of air. Engine idling, plenty of air.

I also doubt the scenario is as published: Ntsb states that diesel exhaust can be 400-1100F. Yep, at power. Most at power run below 900F. At idle, there is little heat coming out the exhaust, maybe 300F. If engine is left idling with jacket water boiled out, it will go higher, but no where near 1100F. I suspect he remained at power for a while after the problem began and that is what started the fire.

So now we have them proposing numerous regulations regarding fire suppression, maintenance requirements, sight tubes with automatic valves, etc.

But the Cap't was an idiot, and that is the root cause. Get an alarm, shut down the engine!! I don't know a single cap't that does not know that is the drill. Then go in ER and check things out. There was presumably other crew that could do that or take the helm while the cap't did.

Sea water pumps can fail five minute or five years after an impeller replacement. A new govt reg requiring a maintenance schedule does not change that reality. How an operator handles the failure is what determines the outcome.

The cap't might have had a license, but did not know how to operate his boat.
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Old 12-30-2018, 05:11 PM   #10
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Does anyone know a source for a small one? Kiddie made them for a little while, then quit, don't know why. Tests on them done by consumer organizations showed they were much better than dry chemical, and much easier to clean up.
6 Liters is the smallest I've found with a USCG approval.
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Old 12-30-2018, 07:49 PM   #11
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kind of dancing around the real issue here. You get a high temp alarm on an engine, you do a few things immediately:

1. Reduce power

2. Shut it down

3. Go in the er and check things out.

If there is a fire in the exhaust fg tubes, if you catch it early it can be put out with a handheld fe. With engine shut down, if internals are on fire, it will quickly be starved of air. Engine idling, plenty of air.

I also doubt the scenario is as published: Ntsb states that diesel exhaust can be 400-1100f. Yep, at power. Most at power run below 900f. At idle, there is little heat coming out the exhaust, maybe 300f. If engine is left idling with jacket water boiled out, it will go higher, but no where near 1100f. I suspect he remained at power for a while after the problem began and that is what started the fire.

So now we have them proposing numerous regulations regarding fire suppression, maintenance requirements, sight tubes with automatic valves, etc.

But the cap't was an idiot, and that is the root cause. Get an alarm, shut down the engine!! I don't know a single cap't that does not know that is the drill. Then go in er and check things out. There was presumably other crew that could do that or take the helm while the cap't did.

Sea water pumps can fail five minute or five years after an impeller replacement. A new govt reg requiring a maintenance schedule does not change that reality. How an operator handles the failure is what determines the outcome.

The cap't might have had a license, but did not know how to operate his boat.

^^^^^ this ^^^^^ x a lot
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:30 PM   #12
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6 Liters is the smallest I've found with a USCG approval.

If my boat is small (MS 34) and I want a USCG approval but cant find a smaller one with it, I will take one without it!!! Whats the smallest available period?
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