According to the statistics provided by the classification society of the Amaranth, more than 60% of fires in engine rooms of the sea-going vessels are caused by the spillage of oil or fuel on hot surfaces (hot spots). These fires are much more dangerous and harder to suppress than other fires. The operator managing a fleet of 20 vessels may expect the fire in the engine room in every range of 10 years of operation of the fleet. The crews and the fleet managers should make every effort to ensure that such incidents would not occur.
The State Commission on Maritime Accident Investigation deemed reasonable to refer to the operator of the Amaranth safety recommendations, representing a proposal of measures that can help to prevent similar accidents in the future.
State Commission on Maritime Accident Investigation has recommended that the operator Unibaltic Ltd should:
1) use flat, reinforced graphite or graphite filled spiral gaskets on ships for flanged connections for thermal oil piping system as optimum ones for safety and tightness reliability reasons;
2) oblige the engineer officers on ships to make regular checks of vibration and temperature of bearings of the circulator pumps of the thermal oil system in order to eliminate a fire hazard associated with excessively hot surfaces;
3) train ships’ crew members (mostly masters and deck officers) in the preservation of information in VDR or S-VDR recorders installed on ships, after the accident;
4) amend the existing on-board muster lists on the Amaranth and adapt them to current international requirements.
Moreover, the Commission has recommended to the ship’s operator to consider, in consultation with the classification society, the use of appropriate, approved by the regulations, portable foam fire extinguishers in the vicinity of the system of thermal oil circulator pumps in order to improve fire safety of the Amaranth.
The Commission has also formulated a recommendation for the operator to elaborate instructions for the engineer officers for proper operational supervision, maintenance, and repair as well as ordering original spare parts and materials for the thermal oil system, according to the requirements and specifications of the manufacturer, taking into account specific working conditions of the thermal oil system, which are high temperature, pressure and maintaining the tightness of the system. Since the technical department and quality management department of the Amaranth’s operator had issued such recommendations for the crews of all the ships in its fleet in the bulletin No. 4/2014, prior to the publication of this report, the Commission has refrained from placing this recommendation in the final report.
The Commission positively assessed the measures taken by the shipowner of the Amaranth after the fire on 12 February 2014, and in particular a professionally prepared internal operator’s report of the investigation of this accident.
In connection with irregularities in muster lists of the Amaranth, which were found by the Commission during the investigation of the fire on board, the Commission shall make further recommendations to the following entities.
The State Commission on Maritime Accident Investigation recommends to the inspectors of PSC in Szczecin to pay attention during their inspections on the seagoing vessels of foreign nationality calling at the port of Szczecin to the correctness of their muster lists and in particular the compliance of the general emergency alarm with the applicable international requirements.
The State Commission on Maritime Accident Investigation recommends to the DNV GL classification society, authorized by the flag State (Vanuatu) to issue on their behalf ship’s safety documents, to check in the course of next inspection carried on the Amaranth the validity of the Safety Equipment Certificate or to make an audit related to the functioning of the safety management system, muster lists used o-board and in the case of irregularities to ask the master or the ship’s operator to rectify them in accordance with international requirements in this regard.