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At about 0530 on 11 November 2006, a fire started in the engine room on board the Antarctic supply ship L'Astrolabe. The fire was fed by a spray of diesel fuel from a leak that had developed in the starboard main engine fuel system.

The ship's crew closed the remotely operated, fuel system quick closing valves, which shut down all of the main and auxiliary engines, isolated all ventilation to the engine room and then operated the engine room's fixed fire extinguishing system.

By 0620, the fire had been extinguished and the crew worked to restart the ship's main and auxiliary engines. By about 1200, L'Astrolabe had resumed its passage to Hobart using its port main engine and, by 1030 on 12 November, the starboard main engine was also back in service.

The ATSB's investigation found that the fire was caused by a leak of diesel fuel, probably in the form of a spray, from a temporary blanking arrangement on the starboard main engine. The fuel ignited when it came into contact with the hot surfaces of the starboard main engine.

The report identifies a number of safety issues and issued one recommendation and three safety advisory notices.

Marine Recommendations [ MR20070022 ]

Marine Safety Advisory Notices [ MS2007002 ] [ MS2007003 ] [ MS2007004 ]

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[ Download PDF: 1.84MB]
General details
Date: 11 November 2006 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 0530 (UTC +11 Hours)  
Location:Southern Ocean, Sth of Hobart Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Tasmania Occurrence type: Fire 
Release date: 29 June 2007  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Vessel details
Vessel: L'Astrolabe 
Flag: French 
IMO: 8418198 
Type of Operation: Antarctic support 
Damage to Vessel: Minor 
Departure point:Dumont d'Urville, Antarctica

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Last update 19 May 2016