Crew risked safety in firefight on ship

Last updated 12:53 01/07/2014
Taokas Wisdom
MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ
LESSONS: A report into a fire on board the log carrier Taokas Wisdom, while at at Port Nelson last year, says the crew did not follow correct procedures.

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The crew of a log ship that caught fire at Port Nelson did not follow firefighting procedures, an investigation has found.

Fire broke out in a crew member's cabin at about 5.50am on July 11 last year while the Taokas Wisdom was loading logs.

An automatic fire detection system set off the ship's alarm and the crew put out the fire in about 25 minutes.

Firefighters from the Nelson Fire Service then boarded the ship and used thermal imaging equipment to find and extinguish any hotspots.

A Transport Accident Investigation Commission investigation found a number of safety issues arose from the crew's firefighting performance, including that the master did not report to the bridge and take control from there.

No crew muster was conducted and no-one from the ship alerted the shore authorities to the fire.

"Not all of the crew reported to the muster station.

"Instead they generally congregated around the location of the fire, and firefighting teams were assembled on an ad-hoc basis.

"Had the fire not been brought under control, this lack of structure and delays in getting all available resources to fight the fire could have resulted in a more serious outcome," the TAIC report said.

The commission found that factors that were likely to have reduced the effectiveness of the firefighting were the lack of an effective command and control of the firefighting response, that the fire was not contained within the cabin until the firefighting teams were fully ready to engage, and that the supply of air to the cabin had not been shut down.

The cabin was extensively damaged and adjoining spaces had heat and smoke damage but nobody was injured.

The cause of the fire could not be conclusively identified due to the cabin having been cleaned before a scene investigation could be conducted.

The Panama-registered bulk carrier is operated by Taiwanese company Well Ship Management and Maritime Consultant.

The ship was allowed to complete its voyage from Nelson to China, via other New Zealand loading ports, while holding a Conditional Safety Construction certificate.

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- The Nelson Mail

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