Report highlights vessel electrical concerns

The fire service tackled the blaze, finally extinguishing it the following day
The fire service tackled the blaze, finally extinguishing it the following day

Fishermen had a lucky escape aboard their boat last year after being alerted to a blaze, not by a smoke detector, but by one of the crew who had awoken to discover the fire.

An investigation into the fire aboard the Ardent II at Peterhead Harbour last year has concluded that an electrical fault or failure of a multi-socket adapter in the crew mess room was the most likely cause of the blaze.

Fire broke out aboard the vessel's crew mess room at around 5am on August 16. A short while later one of the crew got out of bed to go to the toilet, smelt and saw smoke and raised the alarm. All three crew who were on board managed to escape onto the quay before the fire took hold.

The fire service tackled the blaze, finally extinguishing it the following day. The vessel was extensively damaged and was later declared a constructive total loss.

In its report into the fire, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said there was no smoke detector fitted in the crew mess room and therefore it was fortunate that one of the crew awoke and discovered the fire at an early stage.

This, it said, enabled the crew to be alerted to the fire and triggered them to evacuate the vessel without delay.

Investigators said the fact that the quay offered the crew a safe haven was likely to have influenced their decision to evacuate the vessel immediately, rather than to attempt to contain and extinguish the blaze.

They stated: "By using available portable fire extinguishers, and closing doors and other openings on discovery of the fire, the crew might have been able to restrict its spread, or even extinguish it, before they evacuated onto the quay.

"Such actions might then have enabled the fire service to start tackling the fire at an earlier stage in its development and so limit the resulting damage."

New regulations which come into effect later this year will now make it mandatory for all vessels to have a means of fire detection fitted in crew rooms the future.

The MAIB also called for regular visual inspection of electrical equipment to check for bare wires, that appropriate fuses were in place and for signs of burning, together with regular PAT, would provide an effective means for reducing the risk of electrical fires.

It has now issued a flyer to the fishing industry highlighting the safety issues in the report.