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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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General details
Date: 11 November 2006 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 0530 (UTC +11 Hours) Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
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: L'Astrolabe 
Flag: French 
IMO: 8418198 
Type of Operation: Antarctic support 
Damage to Vessel: Minor 
Departure point:Dumont d'Urville, Antarctica
Destination:Hobart

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Last update 19 May 2016