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At about 1115 on 31 March 2008, a fire started in the engine room of the container ship MSC Lugano. The chief engineer operated the quick closing valves and the remote stops for the engine room fans and oil pumps. The crew closed the dampers for the engine room fans and the funnel vents and rigged fire hoses to boundary cool the engine room casing and funnel.

After about 50 minutes, the fire cut the electrical power supply to the emergency fire pump and water ceased to flow from the fire hoses. The master ordered the crew to close the engine room skylight and then muster. He then instructed the chief engineer to activate the ship's fixed fire extinguishing system.

At 1220, the master reported the fire to the Australian Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC).

By 1600, the crew had determined that the fire was extinguished. The engine room was ventilated and the crew entered to assess the damage. They were able to re-start many of the engine room systems and restore electrical power but they could not re-start the main engine. The ship was now about 90 miles south of Esperance, Western Australia and drifting towards the Archipelago of the Recherche.

The ship's owners entered into an agreement to tow the ship to Fremantle and, on 1 April, the tug Wambiri departed from Fremantle, Western Australia. Three other tugs, two based in Esperance and one that was in the vicinity towing a barge, were directed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) to assist the ship until Wambiri arrived.

By 1245 on 5 April, Wambiri had rendezvoused with MSC Lugano and taken the ship in tow. The tow continued without incident and at 1506 on 13 April, the disabled ship berthed in Fremantle.

The report identifies a number of safety issues and advises of safety actions already taken and those recommended by the ATSB.

Safety Advisory Notices

[MS2009001] [MS2009002] [MS2009003]

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[ Download PDF: 1.66MB]
General details
Date: 31 March 2008 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: UTC +9  
Location   (show map):Off West Australian coast Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Western Australia Occurrence type: Engine Room Fire 
Release date: 05 February 2009  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Vessel details
Vessel: MSC Lugano 
Flag: Marshall Island 
IMO: 8714217 
Type of Operation: Container Ship 
Damage to Vessel: Minor 
Departure point:Adelaide, South Australia
Destination:Fremantle, Western Australia
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Last update 14 November 2018