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How to prevent a costly mistake


Start by identifying the problem before it explodes into something with substantial damages

The American Club reported an incident where a fire onboard one cargo vessel resulted in some US$85,000 worth of losses. It began with the alarm going off, assuming it was a non-starter. If further actions were taken there and then, the losses would have been lesser.

An expensive ignorance
These led to assuming the fire alarm system was having kinks. When the Mate got off watch an hour later, he notified the Chief Engineer that the earlier alarm was believed to be similar false ones they experienced before. Shortly after, the Chief Engineer directed the electrician to investigate. Everything turned out fine but the fire alarm went off again when he rebooted the system. He asked and learnt that no one checked the cargo hold.

The electrician and the Chief Mate proceeded to the cargo hold only to be confronted by a blaze. The general alarm was sounded. Crew responded quickly and extinguished the flames using the installed CO2 system, a fire-fighting mechanism installed on most ships, which releases liquid carbon dioxide. Reports revealed a portion of the cargo was destroyed. Damages were estimated to be some US$85,000.

American Club, a member of the International Group of P&I felt that the crew had failed to identify the problem before it amplified. The Club said, “It could have spread to adjacent holds and seriously damaged or even jeopardised the ship’s structure.” If the crew took the alarm seriously and conducted further investigations, it could have saved itself a bulk of trouble. Such was a lesson never advised to learn only on hindsight.


Crewing Online News Team
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