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Old 09-10-2022, 09:06 AM   #21
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Having to pull myself/Lena through our forward hatch while standing on the berth or trying to pull her up was scary. We found a folding ladder on Amazon. It’s small and stores well. I used it to work on our van’s roof and played around with it to get familiar with it. Pretty slick engineering to say the least.
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Old 09-10-2022, 10:20 AM   #22
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Concepcion fire was due to overloaded circuits. Concepcion deaths were due to faulty alarms and no exits. The focus on escape hatches is great but don't forget the annual check on electrical connections. A lot of trawlers are running around with inadequate wire gauge. Hong Kong builders used whatever was on hand.
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Old 09-10-2022, 06:36 PM   #23
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Concepcion fire was due to overloaded circuits…..

Which circuit was overloaded?
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Old 09-10-2022, 07:20 PM   #24
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Which circuit was overloaded?
Apparently a bunch of stuff was plugged into one circuit to recharge for the next day's diving (dive lights, cameras, etc.). Fire occurred in a location that blocked the way out.
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Old 09-10-2022, 07:55 PM   #25
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Circuits are supposed to have over current protection. I didnt think a root cause was found on this tragedy. Could have been a Li-ion battery fire?? With no overload.
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Old 09-10-2022, 08:11 PM   #26
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Apparently they were supposed to have a roving watchman who presumably would have discovered the fire sooner and either extinguished it, or woken everyone up earlier.
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Old 09-10-2022, 08:19 PM   #27
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https://marineindustrynews.co.uk/cap...ghter-charges/
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Old 09-10-2022, 08:24 PM   #28
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When the Conception first hit the water in the early 1980s, the personal electronics revolution was decades away.

Divers who boarded the 75-foot boat for excursions to the Channel Islands brought film cameras. There were no smartphones to plug in or the array of other electronic devices now used to take underwater photos.

But when the vessel set off decades later on its fateful Labor Day weekend voyage, those on board needed power — a lot of it. And they plugged their equipment into a series of outlets concealed in the back of foam-filled, L-shaped benches in the ship’s galley.

https://www.latimes.com/california/s...ve-caused-fire
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Old 09-11-2022, 08:18 AM   #29
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Interesting. I hadn't heard the theory that the wiring itself could have been the ignition source. Makes sense though. Even assuming overcurrent protection in the boat's installed wiring, the wiring plugged into it could have failed.

I had heard that the focus was originally on Lithium batteries, which have been in the news a lot in relation to fires. That one makes even more sense to me.

Both are, of course, just theories. We'll never know.
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Old 09-11-2022, 08:25 AM   #30
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Its all speculation. The investigation, with lots of smart and experienced people with access to all the available info couldn’t determine the fire source. Yet someone in an armchair can make a definite declaration. Give me a break.
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Old 09-11-2022, 09:06 AM   #31
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Conception dive boat fire

Agreed. Even with “healthy” batteries being charged, fire/heat exposure will cause them to go unstable. So the fire investigators would have that near impossible mess to figure out.


OTOH, we know that there are increased risks associated with higher powered Li-ion batteries under charge and just post charge. There was a learning curve with laptop batteries, vaping devices, scooter batteries going unstable in some high risk areas. Even torpedoes, I might add.

In the end, there are far more electrical fires not caused by Li. But, if I was a betting man, thats my vote here. Diving scooters, handheld lights, etc have far less volume of manufacturing than cell phones and laptops. Driving the risk equation higher.

Two cruises ago, i had a swollen wifi cell router li ion batt! Swollen means gas pressure.

I have a steel broiler pan to use when charging aboard.
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Old 09-11-2022, 09:28 AM   #32
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A good friend was Captain of this boat in his younger days prior to attending a maritime academy to get his unlimited license. IE, many years prior to this fire. Very smart, capable guy, who knew the Northern Channel Islands as well as anyone. He currently has a boat in Santa Barbara and still goes out there often. These older fish and dive boats on the west coast are a different animal than our rec boats. Most crews do their best to ensure everyone’s safety, but their egress access in the sleeping quarters can be very poor. Everyone knows this, including the regulators. It’s not a business where people get rich, including the owners so major retrofits on their boats are a tough proposition. Its easy to make assertions regarding what should or should have been done from a computer keyboard, and that is often the case for any accident.
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Old 09-11-2022, 10:40 AM   #33
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A horrible tragedy. The crew claimed they never heard smoke alarms sounding, and yet the vessel, and alarms, were inspected prior to the fire. This remains a mystery, along with the actual cause.

I wrote about this here https://stevedmarineconsulting.com/f...ssel-prepared/

Here https://stevedmarineconsulting.com/d...20-newsletter/

And about smoke alarms just this past Friday here https://stevedmarineconsulting.com/t...-the-contract/
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Old 11-23-2022, 04:30 PM   #34
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One of the guys on my team was on that boat with his wife. Such a terrible event, RIP to all those lost.
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Old 11-23-2022, 07:39 PM   #35
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Nobody or any commission has found a single culprit and there may not be one smoking gun but subject vessel has apparently met all USCG requirements. The USCG and federal regs are written to engage older vessels as well as new so alleging older vessels are more prone to casualties is just plain wrong. Just as wrong as claiming new vessels are better built than older. If a vessel lacks current safety equipment or design features then the USCG will enforce it, pull the COI or restrict operations and territory.

Think about it a bit if you’re inclined. Building a passenger or any vessel that must remain fully watertight and yet provide immediate emergency evacuation routes and passages while still offering passengers or owners much of the conveniences of home is a very tall order. Every year this evolution of boat buyers wanting all the stuff they have at home continues and designers and builders have to stretch beyond the standards they learned in school to accommodate these customers in order to stay in business. Mark my word electrical boat fires will increase in the future while common sense diminishes.

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Old 11-23-2022, 09:26 PM   #36
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Nobody or any commission has found a single culprit and there may not be one smoking gun but subject vessel has apparently met all USCG requirements. The USCG and federal regs are written to engage older vessels as well as new so alleging older vessels are more prone to casualties is just plain wrong. Just as wrong as claiming new vessels are better built than older. If a vessel lacks current safety equipment or design features then the USCG will enforce it, pull the COI or restrict operations and territory.

Think about it a bit if you’re inclined. Building a passenger or any vessel that must remain fully watertight and yet provide immediate emergency evacuation routes and passages while still offering passengers or owners much of the conveniences of home is a very tall order. Every year this evolution of boat buyers wanting all the stuff they have at home continues and designers and builders have to stretch beyond the standards they learned in school to accommodate these customers in order to stay in business. Mark my word electrical boat fires will increase in the future while common sense diminishes.

Rick

The smoking gun, so to speak, what that they didn't have the required roving watch, which was a condition of inspection. So the boat passed inspection, but wasn't operated in compliance with it's certification.


Other things that were not required but the COI were recommended as enhancements, like points of egress that aren't effectively blocked by bunks, and point of egress that lead to different area of the boat so less likely to both be blocked by fire. Also, the fire alarming was clearly inadequate.


Those seem like good suggestions, but your point about the realities of boat design are well taken. We went through this on our boat which was in build when the Conception fire occurred. Figuring a way to get two exit paths from the lower level to separate parts of the boat was a challenge. Ceiling hatches in the staterooms that open into the salon above were proposed, but rejected because of interference with cabinetry above, and granite floor tile that would make any hatch VERY heavy. Instead, the second egress is to go aft through the ER and into the laz, then out the laz hatch to the cockpit. The down side is that there is only one way out of each lower stateroom to the common hallway. If a fire gets into the hall before you are alerted, you are screwed. So lots and lots of smoke detectors.
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Old 11-24-2022, 12:40 PM   #37
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Twisted tree: can’t argue with your assessment they were apparently in violation on the watch standards. I might add though, again just spitballing here, but the whole night watchman requirement on smaller crewed T class passenger vessels isn’t often taken too seriously. Minimal crew usually means some member is given the task which most often means little or no sleep so you have to wonder how thoroughly the job is taken.

If this was an electrical fire, and again another unsubstantiated theory, these types of fires can travel fast along conductors that are often buried behind fabrics, insulation, upholstery etc. they rarely are localized and usually run to protective equipment. With LI batteries they burn very hot and can explode compounding the hazard. Combined with toxic plastic smoke that can overwhelm a person and blind them quickly is a frightening scenario. Maybe more than a watchman could have handled. The reported alarm failures is a mystery as Steve A notes.

However a watchman doing his job and acting with dispatch could have, should have rousted everybody up and directed them out on deck or at least tried to. We will apparently never know unfortunately but there is plenty of blame to go around and you can bet those T boats running overnight are going to see some very serious USCG responses and rule changes. Most of which I suspect will be targeted at electrical systems and evacuation.

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Old 11-24-2022, 01:02 PM   #38
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Can't cover this subject too much, having inspected hundreds of vessels in my career, I marvel that there aren't more electrical fires. My strong suspicion is this fire occurred because the vessel's older electrical system was stressed by modern, higher loads induced by multiple chargers. Resistance space heaters have the same effect, many fires have occurred not because of the heater itself, but because of faulty wiring that works OK when lightly loaded.

Some, including the CG, have postulated it may have been a portable lithium battery that was being charged, that's entirely possible as well. In my shop, I place lithium batteries for portable tools, that are being charged, on a ceramic surface, and I encourage others to do the same, and never leave phones, computers or tablets charging unattended on bedding. It is believed the wooden boat museum in my home town of Deltaville Virginia burned down because of a power tool battery charger.

I covered the fire and smoke detection subjects editorially twice recently...

https://stevedmarineconsulting.com/w...Fire199-04.pdf

https://stevedmarineconsulting.com/t...-the-contract/

Why none of the survivors can report having heard a smoke detector remains the greatest mystery for me.
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