Fires stoke Association fears

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Publication date: 1 October 2000



(2000), "Fires stoke Association fears", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 9 No. 4.

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Fires stoke Association fears

Fires stoke Association fears

The Salvage Association has expressed concern about the number of casualties caused by fire over the last year, despite evidence that the incidence of damage caused by sub-standard conditions is declining compared with the early part of this decade.

In its review of Worldwide Operations 1998-99, the Salvage Association said incidents involving fire featured predominantly in the year's casualties. Although machinery fires dominated, there were also a number of accommodation and cargo fires.

The Association highlighted a number of fires started in containers. Over the past year, there have been a number of incidents linked to calcium hypochlorite and the possibility that it self-ignited.


David Davies, chairman of the Salvage Association said the Association was yet to reach any firm conclusions from its investigations of incidents thought to involve calcium hypochlorite.

The Association also raised concerns about identifying potentially dangerous cargoes which may have been incorrectly declared on manifests.

If the contents of a container were not properly identified then they could not comply with legislation on dangerous goods.

Bernard Devereese, deputy chairman of the Association said this matter was being brought to the attention of the authorities, and there were hopes that the appropriate legislation could be amended.

In its annual review, the Salvage Association also expressed concern about engine-room fires, noting that the correlation between crew negligence and machinery failure was "quite striking".


Of note were engine-room fires initiated by fuel oil spraying onto hot engine parts following the rupture of fuel lines. The Association said it was incredible that such fuel fed fires could occur when there had been extensive discussion in the industry on how they could be prevented. A pattern was also identified in a number of turbocharger failures.

Fred Emond, the Association's operations manager said there had been problems with two or three turbocharger manufacturers. Although the problems had initially been thought to be unrelated, a design defect was identified. He said the problem area had now been taken out, with a change from a Japanese manufacturer to a European one for the particular component involved.

A recurring theme was the problems of container ships travelling too fast in harsh weather in order to meet tight deadlines. Cruise-ships also faced tight schedules, the Association said, but cruising tended to take place in regions less affected by harsh weather.

Lloyd's Casualty Week, Vol. 317, No. 2, July 9 1999.