Marine safety issues and actions

Ship firefighting cache

Issue number: MO-2014-008-SI-09
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: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

The ATSB acknowledges the action taken by DFES to break the caches down into smaller portable packages.


Safety issue description

The large size and weight of the ship firefighting cache made it difficult for the duty Port Hedland volunteer firefighter to transport it to the wharf. 

Response to safety issue by DFES

The DFES did not make a submission.

ATSB comment

Safety action by DFES is necessary to ensure that ship firefighting caches can be expediently transported to wharves. The ATSB has issued the following recommendation to DFES to address the issue.


Action number: MO-2014-008-SR-043
Action organisation: Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES)
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 transportation of ship firefighting caches to wharves. 


Additional correspondence

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

DFES agree with this recommendation and is taking steps to break the caches down into smaller portable packages.

As a general comment, DFES is disappointed to note that the risk related to the safety standards of ships operating in Western Australian ports have not been addressed from regulatory/compliance perspective.

DFES note that this is the second shipboard fire in the Pilbara in recent years where the presence of hatches that were secured open or defective have affected the performance of deluge systems and hampered fire suppression efforts. These two occurrences suggest, anecdotally at least, that this is a commonplace issue within the industry.

Last update 10 October 2017