In a recent Mars Report a fire broke out on board a tanker after a soot particle landed on a canvas covering after soot blowing. To prevent such incidents, a number of risk control measures need to be taken. For example, soot blowing must not be carried out when the wind is blowing from the stern.

In addition, the officer of the watch (OOW) on the bridge should be informed before soot blowing begins. It may be necessary to alter the ship’s course during blowing to help prevent soot deposits and sparks from accumulating on deck.

During the soot blowing process deck crew should be assigned to monitor the open deck and ensure that sparks and ignited soot are safely controlled. Furthermore, combustible material should not be stored on the open deck. It should always be properly and safely stored in closed, dedicated spaces.

Tanker fire caused by soot particle

In the incident described in the Mars Report, the company investigation concluded that the incident was probably caused by a soot particle emitted from the funnel during soot blowing. The Mars reports are compiled (anonymously) by The Nautical Institute to prevent other accidents from happening. A summary of what happened:

A tanker was underway at sea when two crew members noticed smoke coming from the upper deck alleyway. They alerted the rest of the crew and started investigating the source of the smoke. They quickly found that the canvas cover of the emergency towing wire aft had caught fire. The emergency response procedures were activated and the fire was quickly extinguished.

Mars Reports

This accident was covered in the Mars Reports, originally published as Mars 201981, that are part of Report Number 326. A selection of this Report has also been published in SWZ|Maritime’s January issue. The Nautical Institute compiles these reports to help prevent maritime accidents. That is why they are also published on SWZ|Maritime’s website.

More reports are needed to keep the scheme interesting and informative. All reports are read only by the Mars coordinator and are treated in the strictest confidence. To submit a report, please use the Mars report form.

Picture (top) by Roberto Venturini.