On 14 August 2007, the Antigua and Barbuda registered general cargo ship BBC Islander anchored off Dampier, Western Australia. One of the tasks the crew was to complete while the ship was at anchor was the removal of steel brackets that had been welded to the hatch covers.
In the process of removing the brackets with oxy-acetylene cutting equipment, a hole was inadvertently cut in the aft cargo hold hatch cover. As a result, sparks and molten metal fell into the cargo hold and onto the pallets of cargo stowed below.
At about 1340, smoke was noticed coming from the aft cargo hold.
The general alarm was sounded and the master decided to use the ship's fixed fire extinguishing system to flood the cargo hold with carbon dioxide.
The harbour master was notified and he arranged for the ship to be brought alongside the wharf.
By 1312 on 16 August, BBC Islander was all fast alongside the wharf and the local fire fighting authorities took control of the response. Initially, they tried flooding the cargo hold with more carbon dioxide.
They then attempted to remove the cargo in order to reach the seat of the fire and extinguish it with the use of fire hoses. Eventually, the hold was filled with high expansion foam. However, none of these actions extinguished the fire.
On 18 August, the fire was finally extinguished when an offshore supply vessel's fire monitor was used to flood BBC Islander's aft cargo hold with about 700 tonnes of seawater.
The ATSB has issued two recommendations and three safety advisory notices to address the identified safety issues.
Marine Safety Recommendations
Marine Safety Advisory Notices
|Date:||14 August 2007||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Release date:||28 May 2008||Occurrence category:||Incident|
|Report status:||Final||Highest injury level:||None|
|Flag||A & B|
|Type of operation||General cargo|
|Damage to vessel||Minor|