A fire that endangered the 24 crew members aboard a cargo ship was caused by the crew’s lack of adherence to the company’s safety management system, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which investigated the incident. The NTSB also pointed to guidance about hotwork from the marine chemist as a contributing factor to the fire aboard the Chipolbrok Moon, which was moored at the Industrial Terminal West in Greens Bayou in the Port of Houston, Texas.
No one was injured in the May 23, 2018 blaze that broke out in a cargo hold, but the vessel sustained an estimated $12 million in damages. Several wind-turbine components being carried as cargo were damaged in the fire.
The alarm sounded just 25 minutes after some crewmembers had performed hotwork in the space. The crew was able to extinguish the fire by activating the fixed CO2 fire-extinguishing system in the affected space.
The NTSB said the marine chemist’s instructions pertaining to hotwork precautions allowed sparks and slag to fall through unprotected gaps between the removable decking pontoons and ignite the dust-protective covering of the transmission hubs.
No pollution or injuries were reported.