Marine safety investigations & reports

Independent investigation into the engine room fire on board the French Antarctic supply ship L’Astrolabe in the Southern Ocean, south of Hobart, Tasmania 11 November 2006

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 1.84MB]

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 ]

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 1.84MB]
General details
Date: 11 November 2006   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0530 (UTC +11 Hours)    
Location: Southern Ocean, Sth of Hobart    
State: Tasmania    
Release date: 29 June 2007   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Vessel details

Vessel details
Vessel L'Astrolabe  
Flag French  
IMO 8418198  
Type of operation Antarctic support  
Damage to vessel Minor  
Departure point Dumont d'Urville, Antarctica  
Destination Hobart  
Last update 19 May 2016