Preliminary report released 23 October 2014

On 13 July, a fire started in the engine room of bulk carrier, Marigold while it was berthed at Port Hedland, Western Australia. The evidence indicates that a fuel oil pipe coupling on number one diesel generator had failed. Pressurised fuel oil and mist from the coupling ignited and resulted in a fire around the generator turbocharger.

Attempted firefighting measures included deploying the ship’s Halon gas fixed fire suppression system for the engine room. However, a full release of Halon gas did not occur and the engine room was not properly closed. Consequently, the fire continued for about 12 hours until it burnt itself out.  

The investigation is ongoing and will focus on determining:

  • confirming the cause of the fire
  • reason/s for the partial failure of the Halon system
  • maintenance of the ship’s firefighting equipment and appliances
  • ship’s emergency response, including preparedness
  • shore emergency response, including coordination and capability.