The incident

A small fire occurred on the well deck area of a diving support vessel (DSV), during diving operations while the vessel was in DP3 mode.

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The Bosun managed to extinguished the fire, using two foam extinguishers. Luckily, no one was injured, while no damage was reported to the equipment as well.

The correct protocol was followed by the ship's personnel, as they activated the manual fire alarm and they mustered. In addition, an amber light was given to dive control, along with verbal warning of fire. After that, the dive supervisor ordered divers back to the Bell.

Probable cause

According to IMCA, the fire started due to sparks which fell from the starboard funnel into the well deck area and ignited a 1 tonne gabion sack containing cardboard. Other factors that contributed to the incident include:

  • A build-up of soot in the exhaust system, caused by prolonged operation of vessel engines in low load;
  • Lack of maintenance routine for clearing of soot within the system.

Lessons learned

After extinguishing the fire, the following measures were taken:

  • Extensions installed onto drain plugs to provide easier access for planned maintenance activities;
  • As a secondary precaution, gauze type spark arrestors manufactured and installed on top of each exhaust stack;
  • Update planned maintenance regimes, with regard to the cleaning of soot collectors and routine checks for soot removal.