20Nov2017Headlines:

Ship Fires at Sea

Ships are vessels that are an integral part of world trade. Without them world trade would be impossible. They carry goods that cannot be shifted by air. Cargo ships are primarily used to transport goods. With time even passenger ships have become very popular. These have boosted tourism and have also ensured that common people also get the feel of a luxury cruise. Well where there is so much of operations happening.

There is definitely a possibility for errors and accidents. Ships are huge vessels to control and need a team of highly skilled and trained sea farers to run the show. However, in spite of all the precautions ship fires at sea happen. We will now discuss about ship fires at sea. How they are caused. Some very famous ship fires in history. The lessons learnt and the road ahead.
Well as we have already discussed the ships are huge and there are lot of activities that go on a ship quite simultaneously. Some common causes of ship fires at sea are what we are going to discuss now. The reasons for fire in sea are not very different from land tough. The most common reason for fire in sea is short circuit that happens due to the electrical wiring in the ship. The machinery that is used in the ships is heavy and due to continuous use they might get over heated and as a result causes fire. The internal combustion system that is used to form steam can also get over heated due to continuous use and cause fire. The presence of hydraulic fluid near these overheated bearings and metals can also cause explosions.

Sometimes collisions in the sea cause a huge friction that can lead to fire. This is quite common in sea. The crew members cook in the ship. When such large scale cooking happens there is quite a possibility of fire due to negligence. Sometime repair works are carried out in the ships. Welding is a common activity cause most of the ship is made of metal. These too have lead to fire in the past. The possibility of fire is higher in cargo ships as they carry hazardous material and a slight flame can be fatal for the ship. Oil tankers are especially grounded before they are loaded and unloaded. Military vehicles that carry a lot of machinery and arms also have a high potential to catch fire. Grain dust that is quite common in cargo ships might also prove to be a cause for fire.
Not that only cargo ships have this concern. Passenger ships too have their own share of concerns. Most of the passenger ships carry people who are not much aware of the standards of safety that needs to be followed in the sea. These people may light a cigarette and thereby cause a fire. Some of the luxury ships have parties where alcohol is served when drunk the crowed might get unruly and do some activity that can trigger a fire. These are the various causes of ship fires at sea that is commonly seen. The shipping companies from time to time do train their staff on safety regulations that they need to follow when in sea. These trainings are mandatory to be attended by all. Mock fire drills are conducted and a record is maintained by the shipping company from time to time. These are just some ways that are adhered to so that the crew is prepared for a fire disaster anytime. The attendants in a cruise ship are particularly trained on how they should handle the passengers and ensure that they are safe and their activities don’t lead to any fire in the ship.
We will now discuss some of the biggest ship fires at sea. These remain to be a sailor’s worst night mare. In 1965 the worst sea fire happened in a passenger ship. SS Yarmouth Castle was the ship that met with a fatal fire and subsequently sank. There was no fire drill that was ever done on the ship. The crew was not well trained. They panicked as they had never handled a situation like this. This incident proved how important it was for the seafarers to know about fire accidents and to handle them. The star princess fire in 2006 where a bad fire broke out. Most of the balconies of the ship melted. The fire was brought under control. However, one passenger died due to inhalation of smoke. The fire was caused by a man who was smoking in one of the balconies. This incident leads to the start of SOLAS (Safety of life at sea) which issues guidelines that the mariners need to follow at time of emergency. Carnival Splendour is another prominent ship that met with a fire in the high sea. However, the captain and the crew who were trained in facing such situations acted very bravely and ensured that the fire is brought under control. As a result no life was lost which is commendable.
Another ship fires at sea that we must discuss here is Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant where a fire occurred in 1933. It was caused by a worker who used a candle to check air leaks. This triggered a fire and there could have been a major nuclear if the crew members had not acted with responsibility and efficiency. Due to these reasons ships become very prone to fire accidents. The modern ships are built keeping this in mind. Fire alarm systems and smoke detectors are present all across the ship. Water sprinklers and fire extinguishers are kept at every possible part of the ship. A designated smoking zone is allotted for the passengers. The crew is trained and they ensure that they keep an eye on the passengers on board. They are also well trained to attend to a situation of fire accidents. Refresher training and drills are arranged for the staff from time to time.
It shows that throughout history ship fires at sea have been very common. The causes have been numerous from technical faults to human errors. However, the shipping companies and the mariners have learnt from each mistake and they have come up with processes and safety measures that have reduced these accidents tremendously. Nevertheless, we all must be aware of the small things that we can do when in sea to ensure that these worst nightmares don’t come true. Awareness is perhaps the first step to ensure that we have a safe journey at sea. This is exactly what the article aims too.

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