New TAIC report on freighter fire, Napier 2020

The Carriage Accident Investigation Board released its final report into the response to a seven-day fire aboard the freighter Kota Bahagia just before Christmas 2020.

The Commission reiterated two recommendations it made in 2018 to Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) and issued a recommendation to the ship’s operator, Pacific International Lines.

On December 18, 2020, the Kota Bahagia was unloading a high-value shipment of wind turbine components at the Port of Napier. Shore workers were on board doing hot work with gas cutting equipment to remove the steel supports that were welded to the floor of the hold to hold the cargo in place.

Acting Chief Accident Investigator Naveen Kozhuppakalam said molten materials from gas-cutting hot work most likely caused the fiberglass cargo to ignite.

In response to the fire, Fire and Emergency NZ supported the unified command team – the ship’s crew, FENZ firefighters and port authorities. The ship’s captain followed FENZ’s orders and evacuated the people from the ship.

“The ship’s captain knew that the crucial firefighting tactic was to close the cargo hold lid and release carbon dioxide into the cargo hold. To close the lid, the crew had to come back on board to hoist a crane cable and a container spreader bar out of the hold,” Mr Kozhuppakalam said.

“The captain tried to relay these tactics to the officer in charge of FENZ, but valuable time was lost because FENZ personnel initially did not give due consideration to the captain’s command status and knowledge of the vessel. and its systems.

“The Commission found that fire suppression was further delayed because the parties involved did not have a shared and consistent understanding of each other’s roles and objectives.”

It took seven days to extinguish the fire. There was extensive damage to the ship’s hold and cargo. There were no deaths or serious injuries.

The response to the fire on the Kota Bahagia revealed safety issues similar to those identified by the Commission in its November 2018 report on a fire on the Kokopo Chief in Tauranga Port. Accepting TAIC’s recommendations in this report, Fire and Emergency NZ said they would complete the reviews in 2019. These reviews had not been completed when the Kota Bahagia fire occurred in December 2020.

“To fully implement the 2018 Commission recommendations, Fire and Emergency NZ must urgently update its training program to include the latest procedures and guidelines for fighting fires on board ships,” said Mr. Kozhuppakalam.

“The Commission welcomes the fire and emergency safety actions so far, which include new documentation showing the captain’s status and authority; new procedures for fighting fires on board ships; and work with ports to formalize firefighting collaboration.

The Commission has made a further recommendation – that Pacific International Lines take additional steps to ensure that the safety measures prescribed in its Safety and Emergency Manual are effectively implemented on board its vessels. TAIC commends the security measures taken by Pacific International Lines to date, but believes that further measures are still required to meet the intent of this recommendation.

Although the Commission did not identify any safety issues with the Port of Napier’s response to the Kota Bahagia fire, we commend the Port of Napier’s proactive safety actions:/5.16-5.17. Its hydrants and firefighting equipment have distinctive new markings, and the port’s enhanced relationship with FENZ includes formalized firefighting tactics, site orientation and emergency drills. .

The primary objective of the Transportation Accident Investigation Board is to determine the circumstances and causes of certain air, sea and rail accidents and incidents with a view to preventing similar occurrences in the future, rather than to assign blame to anyone.

© Scoop Media

Comments are closed.