An electric arc has been identified by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as the cause of a fire in the engine room aboard a fishing vessel – a blaze that put the crew’s lives at risk when they were unable to extinguish it. The four crew members of the Rose Marie, a 77-foot trawler 65 miles off the coast of Chatham, Massachusetts, abandoned ship and got into a life raft. They were rescued by the Seven Seas, a nearby fishing vessel.
The U.S. Coast Guard said another fishing vessel, Alexis Martina, radioed to report that the Rose Marie was on fire at approximately 1 p.m. on August 23, 2018. The fire apparently started between noon and 12:30 p.m.
None of the crewmembers were injured in the incident.
The fire aboard the Rose Marie eventually burned itself out and the vessel was towed to port by a commercial salvage tug. The Rose Marie, valued at an estimated $700,000, was declared a constructive total loss.
The NTSB said the “probable cause” of the was the arcing of an electrical wire in the engine room overhead igniting a wooden cable trunk. Contributing to the severity of the damage was the installation of a trunk that compromised the steel boundary of the engine room, allowing the flames to spread to the combustible materials in the upper decks.