Marine safety issues and actions

Professional firefighters in Port Hedland

Issue number: MO-2014-008-SI-08
Who it affects: All agencies charged with shipboard firefighting
Issue owner: 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: Partially addressed
Issue status justification:

The Department of Fire & Emergency Services (DFES) has identified a future requirement for a career fire service in Port Hedland. Currently, DFES intends a graduated response to incident management. If the local resources are insufficient, a scaled response using regional and then State level resources, is to be activated. Further, the port authority and first responders have increased training and familiarisation exercises to improve response.

The ATSB acknowledges the safety action taken. However, volunteer fire fighters in Port Hedland remain at the same level as at the time of the incident. The nearest regional and specialist state career fire fighters are based several hours away in Karratha or even further, in Perth. The time taken to deploy these additional resources in a scaled response could be sufficiently significant to materially impact the consequences. Therefore, the ATSB does not consider the risk from this issue has reduced to an acceptable level.

Safety issue description

The limited professional firefighting capability in Port Hedland restricted the ability to launch an effective response to the fire on board Marigold. 


Response to safety issue by DFES

The DFES did not make a submission.


Action number: MO-2014-008-SR-042
Action organisation: Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES)
Date: 20 April 2016
Action status: Released

The ATSB recommends that the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) takes action to address the safety issue regarding the limited professional firefighting capability in Port Hedland and other regional ports. 

Last update 13 May 2020