Fires On Ships: Causes And Solutions
A ship fire is one of the most frightening emergencies that can occur at sea – big vessels carry large amounts of oil, petrol and flammable substances that can cause immense damage if the crew don’t have access to the right fire-fighting equipment. Here are three things every shipowner should be doing to minimise their team’s risk when they take to the waters:
Take Care of Your Machinery
Large ships carry a lot of very complex machinery in close quarters in their boiler rooms, not to mention the fuel pipes that supply these machines. It’s a hotbed of potential fire hazards if ever there was one. This is why it is absolutely vital to take care of your machinery and keep a close eye on emerging fuel leaks or lingering exhaust gases. Pre-launch checks should be done, supplemented by multiple daily checks during your voyage.
Train Your Crew Properly
If you want your crew to be safe aboard your ship, the best thing you can do is train them properly. Because you rather want to prevent a fire than put it out, start by training everyone on the proper disposal of flammable objects, machinery maintenance procedures, etc. Then proceed to equip them with fire-fighting skills and techniques. It is worth your while to have regular drills so everyone knows what they should be doing if a fire should break out. This way there will be less panic and more focussed action.
Keep Your Fire-Fighting Equipment Up To Date
Next, be sure to check your fire-fighting equipment regularly. Fire extinguishers should be serviced regularly to ensure its effectiveness in an emergency, and even ‘static’ materials like fire blankets can begin to deteriorate if it is kept out of sight in a closet for years on end. Make a point of working regular equipment checks on your crew’s to-do list and act immediately if it is found that some of the equipment is not up to date.
There you have it – three golden rules for safeguarding your passengers and crew against fire aboard your ship. Following these guidelines will allow you to limit your risk. Keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks and months for more expert insight into all things shipping. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to the Link Ship Chandlers team if you would like to find out more about our marine safety equipment and maritime supply services at Cape Town, Saldanha, Port Elizabeth, Coega, Durban and Richards Bay.