The Incident

During an evening with a heavy weather of about Beaufort scale 7, the vessel voyaging was heading for the discharge port.

Suddenly, the fire alarm sounded on the bridge. The Master, as being on the bridge, saw smoke coming from the funnel ventilation on the port side. After that, he immediately set off the general alarm.

In addition, the chief engineer (CE) was in the engine control room (ECR) when the fire alarm sounded and left it to see what was happening. There was a fire around the top covers of cylinders #2/#3 of the port side main engine.

Although he tried to put out the fire with a portable fire extinguisher, he failed.

Therefore, he went back to the ECR, activated the fire alarm button and contacted the Master on the bridge.

In light of the fire, other members of the crew came to assist and attempted to enter the engine room to put out the fire, but the flames were very high and there was a great deal of smoke, so they could not get near it. It was decided to release the CO2 system and flood the engine room.

The CE closed all the fire dampers and activated the remote quick closing valves for the fuel system. He then went into the CO2 release station with the electrical engineer.

He opened the cabinet door and automatically the CO2 release alarm sounded, and the ventilation fans halted. The chief engineer then started on the steps needed to perform the CO2 release.

However, whilst going through this process they missed opening one of the valves and no CO2 was released. When the CE realised this he used the manual handle to open the CO2 bottles. After releasing the CO2, the CE was pleased to see that the amount of smoke coming from the engine room through the funnel ventilation was decreasing.

Nobody was injured, and all were rescued. The vessel had to be dry docked and have extensive repairs.

Probable Cause

Yet, the amount of smoke soon rose again.

At this point the CE realised that the CO2 system had not worked as he had hoped. It was later discovered that only seven of thirteen CO2 bottles were released into the engine room. The Master ordered the crew to abandon ship.