| Code: 54693 |

TIN news:        On 7 October 2014, there was a fire on board the Danish flagged ro-ro cargo ship PARIDA while underway from Scrabster, United Kingdom, to Antwerp, Belgium, loaded with nuclear waste mate-rial. The fire indirectly immobilized the main engine, which caused the ship to drift in the direction of a nearby oil-field installation, resulting in the risk of an allision.
The Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board (DMAIB) has in the investigation focused on a number of topics in relation to the fire. Among these are the properties of on-board systems and their functioning during normal operating conditions and their functioning during an emergency situation where the design is challenged by unintended and unforeseen conditions. Some of the factors preventing the unfolding of the full potential of the emergency are addressed.
It is concluded that the interrelation between the accidental events on board and interactions with the external environment created a propagating effect where a malfunctioning pressure gauge caused the evacuation of an oil-field installation. The investigation establishes that the nature of the cargo carried on board had no particular significance during the emergency situation.
The fire in the funnel casing on PARIDA likely arose when the weather induced motions, acting on the aft end of the ship, contributed to the unscrewing of a pressure gauge fitted on the ship´s thermal heat-oil system. The thermal heat-oil sprayed from the pipe end at high pressure into the funnel casing space where it was ignited, most likely by a hot surface on the exhaust boiler inlet pipe.
Due to interconnection between the thermal heat-oil system and the main engine safety systems, the main engine slowdown mode was activated. The slowdown mode could not be immediately cancelled and there was a perceived continued risk of fire, which in combination resulted in immobilization of the main engine and left PARIDA adrift.
The drifting ship and the prevailing weather conditions posed a risk of an allision with the nearby oil production platform BEATRICE ALPHA. The risk was averted as PARIDA managed to halt the drift by means of its anchors and was subsequently towed into sheltered waters.
The DMAIB has previously noted the perception that anchors are in part intended for use in such emergency situations. However, the standard anchor equipment on board ships generally does not support this purpose. Thus, emergency use of anchors might introduce an excessive strain on the ship´s structure and may expose the crew working near the anchor winches to an additional risk.
PARIDA carried radioactive material at the time of the fire. However, the DMAIB´s investigation has established that the cargo did not present any particular hazard in relation to the emergency situation.
The fire has demonstrated how a rather small and well-handled fire could result in the potential for a larger disaster. A minor malfunction in a pressure gauge caused a fire that triggered the loss of propulsion. The on board conditions interacted with the environmental conditions and created a risk of allision with BEATRICE ALPHA. Thereby, the accident illustrates how a small everyday malfunction of a technical component can have propagating effects. Furthermore, it establishes that there is not necessarily proportionality between accidental events and their consequences.

Send Comment

Latest news The most viewed news The most popular topics
Book introduction Magazine introduction Transportation weekly