Many cargoes, including a wide range of bulk cargoes and general cargoes can be ignited
by cigarettes and/or hot work. Smoking and hot work therefore need to be properly
controlled, details a fire prevention guide by the Swedish Club.
A bulk carrier carrying general cargo was loading additional steel cargo into its cargo holds. In order to secure this cargo, the crew welded D-rings to the tween deck.
It was late in the evening and the Bosun noticed smoke from the lower hold. He informed the Chief Officer at once about the smoke and tried to reach the area where the smoke was coming from with a fire hose but was unsuccessful. The Chief Officer assisted the Bosun with a fire extinguisher but could not access the area as the tween deck was full of cargo.
The Chief Officer informed the Master who sounded the general alarm. All the crew was mustered and accounted for. A fire team was assembled and boundary cooling started. Fire hoses were also used for spraying water into the cargo hold. This did not extinguish the fire as more smoke was escaping from the cargo hold.
The Master decided that the cargo hold hatch covers should be closed and CO2 released into the cargo hold. When the local fire brigade arrived the hatch covers were removed. A great deal of smoke escaped from the cargo hold and so the fire brigade and crew sprayed water through the hatch. After a couple of hours the fire brigade confirmed that the fire had been extinguished.
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Source: The Swedish Club