Marine safety issues and actions

Incident control

Issue number: MO-2014-008-SI-06
Who it affects: All agencies charged with shipboard firefighting
Issue owner: BHP Billiton, Pilbara Ports Authority and Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES)
Transport function: Marine: Shore-based operations
Background: Investigation Report 312-MO-2014-008
Issue release date: 20 April 2016
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

The ATSB acknowledges DFES has actively and regularly liaised with Pilbara Ports in relation to emergency management arrangements since the incident.

Safety issue description

The emergency response plans for a ship fire in Port Hedland did not clearly define transfer of control procedures for successive incident controllers from different organisations or contain standard checklists for their use. 

Proactive Action

Action number: NSA-006
Action organisation: BHP Billiton
Action status: Closed

BHP Billiton advised the ATSB that its Crisis Emergency Management procedure outlines the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) role as the hazard management agency and contains trigger points for incident controller handovers. Additionally, standardised checklists (aligned to DFES checklists) are to be incorporated into its emergency response plan for marine incidents involving shipboard fires.

ATSB comment:

The ATSB acknowledge the proactive action taken by BHP Billiton.

Proactive Action

Action number: NSA-006
Action organisation: Pilbara Ports Authority
Action status: Closed

The Pilbara Ports Authority advised the ATSB that as a result of the Marigold and another recent shipboard fire in Western Australia, the State’s plan for managing maritime transport emergencies has been revised. The revised plan includes formal incident controller delegations.

ATSB comment:

The ATSB notes that Western Australia’s plan for managing maritime transport emergencies has been revised to include formal incident controller delegations.

Proactive Action

Action number: NSA-006
Action organisation: Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES)
Action status: Closed

The DFES did not make a submission.

ATSB comment:

Safety action is necessary to compliment the proactive action taken by BHP Billiton, and to ensure clearly defined transfer of control procedures for incident controllers from different organisation’s. The ATSB has issued the following recommendation to DFES to address this safety issue.

Recommendation

Action number: MO-2014-008-SR-040
Action organisation: Department of Fire and Emergency Services
Date: 20 April 2016
Action status: Closed

The ATSB recommends that the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) takes action to address the safety issue regarding the transfer of control procedures for incident controllers from different organisations.

Additional correspondence

Response date: 12 July 2016
Response from: Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES)
Action status: Closed
Response text:

Whilst DFES agree that action is required to address issues regarding transfer of control procedures during marine fire incidents, DFES does not agree that it has responsibility for this action.

The Hazard Management Agency (HMA) for Marine Transport Emergencies (MTEs) in Western Australia is the Department of Transport (DoT). As part of their HMA responsibilities, DoT have developed the State Hazard Plan for Marine Transport Emergency, which prescribes that:

The Port Authorities Act 1999 and relevant agreement acts require Port Authorities and private companies operating ports (Maritime Export Facility) to prepare, maintain and implement a Marine Safety Plan that is approved by the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure in the case of Port Authorities.

The Director General of DoT approves such plans in the case of ports (Marine Export Facilities) operated by private companies. These plans will identify arrangements for managing Marine Transport Emergency situations within port waters.

Whilst encouraging consultation and coordination in the development of Port Marine Safety Plans, DFES is of the view that ultimate responsibility for addressing the issues identified rests with Pilbara Ports and BHP Billiton.

Notwithstanding the above, DFES has actively and regularly liaised with Pilbara Ports in relation to emergency management arrangements since the MV Marigold incident.

ATSB comment:

The ATSB acknowledges DFES has actively and regularly liaised with Pilbara Ports in relation to emergency management arrangements since the incident.

Last update 10 October 2017