The Dangers of Conducting Barbecue Onboard



The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore has issued notices for the attention of the shipping community on the importance to recognise the dangers of conducting barbecue parties for social events onboard ships.

Recently, many incidents witnessed an explosion at the site where the make-shift barbecue pits were organised for social events.  This has caused 2nd degree or 3rd degree burns to the officers and crew at the site.  The injured officers and crew were evacuated from the vessel to treat the burns ashore.


On investigating the events, it was found that  the persons preparing the barbecue had used a paint thinner [inappropriate fuel] to light up the charcoal or sustain the fire on the barbecue pit.

What is a paint thinner?

Paint thinner is a solvent used to thin oil-based paints or clean up after their use.  Commercially, solvents labelled “Paint Thinner” are usually mineral spirits having a flash point at about 40 °C (104 °F).  Paint thinners are usually combustible.  Paint thinners at high levels can also be a fire/explosive hazard.

Preventive measures:

  • The shipmasters and owners should be reminded of a proper scrutiny of the barbecue pits where it is permitted by company’s Safety Management System (SMS).
  • They should be given due consideration on the risks of fire and explosion when lighting such fires.
  • The Shipowners and masters should be aware that under no circumstance inappropriate fuel are used.

Source: MPA


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