On Thursday, November 7, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) stated that a fire broke out aboard the Panama-flagged tanker ‘HOYU’ around 9.7 nautical miles from Pedra Branca, within Singapore waters.
The MPA added that the fire has been put out and all 18 crew members have been safely evacuated, after the Singapore Civil Defence Force, Singapore Police Coast Guard and the Republic of Singapore Navy deployed vessels to assist the HOYU crew.
Reuters reports that at the time, the tanker was fully loaded with an unspecified oil cargo and was bound for the Philippines, according to Eikon data. Yet, no reports of injury or pollution were reported and traffic remained unaffected. The incident is still under investigation, MPA added.
In fact, fire is considered as one of the most challenging emergencies onboard because, if not properly addressed from the beginning, it entails the risk of total loss of the ship and of injuries/ fatalities. One way to address this emergency is the proper training through efficient and regular drills which ensure that crew members are ready to handle a fire onboard. As such, the industry has incorporated in SOLAS, Chapter 19 which refers to emergency drills, a specific paragraph for fire drills.
The quick response to fire emergencies onboard is of outmost important, taking into consideration that almost half of fire incidents take place while vessel is at sea, as statistics from the Baltic Sea Maritime Incident Response Group Project (2015) revealed; 43.7% at port, 56.3% at sea.