Marine safety investigations & reports

Oxy-acetylene system fire on board Searoad Mersey

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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At about 1540 on 22 September 2006, a flash fire erupted in the high pressure welding oxygen system on board Searoad Mersey. The trainee engineer received burns to his arms from the flash-fire and from molten plastic impinging on his skin when the hoses ruptured. He was wearing overalls at the time but the sleeves were rolled up. Consequently, the overalls did not protect his arms. The fire occurred when the heat created by the compression of the oxygen within the system ignited a replacement hose that had been fitted into the system. The hose had a lining made from a material with a low ignition temperature that had been made in an oily environment. It was not fit for its intended purpose and did not comply with any standards for high pressure oxygen hoses. The hose had been fabricated by a hose supplier who had not been trained about the hazards or standards associated with high pressure oxygen systems and had ambiguous information regarding the suitability of hose materials for the purpose. The report also found that the fixed oxy-acetylene system had not been inspected or maintained in accordance with marine orders. The report makes several safety recommendations with the aim of preventing further incidents of this type.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 1.19MB]
General details
Date: 22 September 2006   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1540 UTC + 10 Hours    
Location: Webb Dock, Melbourne    
State: Victoria    
Release date: 02 April 2007   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Serious  

Vessel details

Vessel details
Vessel Searoad Mersey  
Flag Aus  
IMO 8914831  
Type of operation RO-RO  
Damage to vessel Nil  
Departure point Melbourne  
Destination Devonport  
  Crew Passenger Ground Total
Serious: 1 0 0 1
Total: 1 0 0 1
Last update 19 May 2016