Hot Spot Lead Fire In Engine Room

Credits: Guido Jansen/Unsplash


The German-flagged vessel was en route to the port of Rostock as usual. When she was in the approach fairway about 2.6 

nm from the sea channel, a fire broke out in the main engine room. The cause was 

determined to be material fatigue of a pressure gauge pipe that could not have been foreseen. 

It had broken, releasing a jet of gear oil onto insufficiently insulated engine parts, where it predictably ignited. As the fire was initially very limited, three crewmembers spontaneously started manual firefighting. 

A few minutes later, the ship’s command sounded the general alarm, and all necessary measures were initiated. As early as, the fire could be reported as extinguished.

To be on the safe side, the vessel continued her journey to the berth in Rostock harbour using only her diesel-electric drive. There, all passengers were able to leave the ship unharmed. 

There was a manageable amount of damage in the fire area, and the three firefighting crew members complained of throat irritation, which was treated by a medical response team.


The cause for the fire was a broken pressure gauge pipe on top of the gearbox, which was no longer operational due to the resulting heavy oil leakage. 

Therefore, the ship had to continue its voyage without conventional mechanical propulsion. The use of DG 1 and ESS was safe and uncritical since they are situated in a different engine room and were not impaired.

This investigation revealed that there is no mandatory monitoring obligation for the “hot spot” regulations that have been in place for years.

Lesson Learnt

  • The crew must be trained for engine room fires, cabin fires, or fires on decks.
  • Uniform standards must be developed that specify periodic and repair-dependent inspections of the “hot surface situation” in terms of fire prevention for engines and machinery.

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