NTSB Points Security Suggestions After $100 Million Engine Room Fireplace on Nice Lakes Bulker


The U.S. Nationwide Transportation Security Board issued three security suggestions Thursday following an investigation into final 12 months’s engine room hearth aboard the Nice Lakes bulk service Roger Blough throughout winter layup.

The Roger Blough was docked on the Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding facility on Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin when a hearth began within the engine room on February 1, 2021. The cargo-unloading conveyor belts then ignited, inflicting intensive harm all through the aft part of the vessel. The shipkeeper on board departed the vessel with out damage. No air pollution was reported.

The incident was extraordinarily expensive with damages to the Roger Blough exceeding $100 million.

NTSB investigators decided the fireplace originated on the burner for the diesel oil-fired furnace, which had been put in within the engine room to warmth the house throughout the winter. The burner meeting was mounted onto the furnace’s air tube with an aluminum coupling. Investigators decided the coupling broke, permitting the burner to drop and fracture the gas line supplying it.

In response to the NTSB, a couple of month earlier than the fireplace, the chief engineer believed the furnace was not working and thought the ignitor was not correctly set. The vessel’s two engineers eliminated and reinstalled the furnace’s burner a number of occasions of their makes an attempt to restore the furnace, which had been unsuccessful. They contacted the furnace firm’s technical consultant who repaired the furnace. NTSB investigators concluded the repeated removing and reinstallation of the burner meeting throughout makes an attempt to restore the furnace might have broken the mounting coupling and led to its eventual failure.

When the fireplace erupted at evening, the wi-fi monitoring and notification system, which was put in for winter layup, activated the alarm panel within the crew’s lodging areas after which notified the designated contacts. The shipkeeper was the one particular person on board however was not listed among the many contacts. The shipkeeper was not woke up till 7 minutes later when the smoke detector inside his stateroom sounded as thick black smoke crammed the room. In response to the report, had the shipkeeper on board been listed among the many designated contacts to obtain system alerts, he doubtless would have been woke up earlier and should have had a possibility to extinguish the fireplace earlier than it unfold by the vessel.

NTSB decided that the possible reason behind the engine room hearth was doubtless the repeated removing and reinstallation of the furnace’s burner that led to the failure of its mounting coupling, ensuing within the working burner dropping to the underside of its enclosure and fracturing the gas provide line, which allowed diesel gas to ignite. Contributing to the fireplace was the absence of a fire-activated automated gas oil shutoff valve on the gas oil inlet piping earlier than the burner, which might have stopped the gas feeding the fireplace shortly after it began and restricted the unfold of the fireplace.

Because of the investigation, the NTSB issued one advice every to the U.S. Coast Guard, the American Bureau of Transport, and Key Lakes Inc.

NTSB really useful that the U.S. Coast Guard require that furnace installations on vessels be inspected to adjust to Nationwide Fireplace Safety Affiliation suggestions and to develop requirements requiring set up of different forms of shutdown mechanisms or security alarms. An analogous advice was issued to the American Bureau of Transport, which conducts oversight examinations for vessels just like the Roger Blough. NTSB’s advice to the vessel proprietor, Key Lakes Inc. was to make sure that their designated contacts listing consists of every shipkeeper residing and dealing on a vessel throughout layup.

“There are not any rules relating to winter layup procedures for business vessels working within the Nice Lakes,” the report stated. “The shortage of rules or classification requirements associated to diesel oil-fired air heating furnace development, set up, security shutdowns, and system alarms poses a threat to life and property if the gear just isn’t put in and maintained to requirements much like these in place for different oil-fired gear.”

The report added: “The Nationwide Fireplace Safety Affiliation recommends that burner assemblies like the sort put in on the Roger Blough have a fire-activated quick-closing valve on the inlet gas oil piping subsequent to the burner. When put in, this kind of valve has a thermally activated mechanism that shuts the valve within the presence of fireside to cease additional stream of gas to the burner. Had the burner meeting on the Roger Blough been fitted with a fire-activated quick-closing valve on its inlet gas oil piping, the gas feeding the furnace hearth would have been stopped and thus the fireplace doubtless wouldn’t have unfold so quickly.”

 Issues of safety recognized by the NTSB included:

  • Lack of rules governing furnace set up and operations on board sure vessels,
  • Insufficient notification to onboard personnel of a hearth, and
  • Lack of fire-activated valve on the gas oil piping to the burner on the furnace within the engine room.

Marine Investigation Report 22/19 may be discovered right here.

The public docket for the investigation containing factual data, together with interview transcripts, pictures and different investigative supplies is right here.



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