Why Are Fires At Sea Dangerous?

Fires at Sea

Fires at Sea

Fires at sea are something which is always an avoidable situation. It is one of the dangers that the mariners face when they are at the sea. We will discuss the fire as a danger at the sea in this particular article.

It should not be difficult to imagine why fires at sea are dangerous. The crew members on a ship have to fight these with very limited resources and with a lot of experience. The fire at sea can be very unpredictable.

We will first discuss the various causes of fire at sea and how this fire can spread. It is the duty of the shipping companies to ensure that the crew is well trained and they can handle a situation since fire at sea can be very dangerous.

There is a popular case study in which a crew member of a cargo ship was sent on duty to a tanker. In a tanker the sailors are not allowed to carry cigarettes and matches. This crew member was from a cargo ship so he had no idea. This is exactly why he was about to light the match when he was stopped. If not this incident could have led to a fatal accident. It may seem a small thing but providing proper training to the crew members can go a long way in making the ships a safer place.

When there is fire at sea it can spread very fast if it is not handled well. Fire in ship can lead to explosions. These explosions can cause a lot of damage to the mariners as well as there is threat to the aquatic life. If there is an explosion in the sea then it may lead to both water and air pollution. The life of the crew members could be lost.

If the fire occurs in the middle of the sea then it becomes even more difficult for the crew members to pacify it. If the fire occurs in a tanker then the explosion can be bad. It has been seen in the past that when the crew members try to escape using the life boats. The fire engulfed them and this lead to death of the crew members, as well as of those who came to rescue them and were trying to get away from the burning ship. Fire can also happen at off shore oil stations. There has been a long history of oil rig fires from all over the world. These fires can be quite fatal too.

The worst and the most dangerous sea fires are those that occur in bad weather. It is quite common that during a storm there is a short circuit and the ship catches fire. This can lead to a lot of causality and deaths. The bad weather can increase the intensity of the fire and also make it spread faster. The crew need special training to deal with a situation like this. This is a common occurrence in many sea fires. These fires become difficult to control because the crew often gets scared and in the fear they tend to take some wrong decisions.

All ships and most marine vessels have a kitchen as food must be cooked for the crew members. These kitchens have to be supplied with means to generate heat or fire which is used for cooking. A single mistake on part of those working in the kitchen can lead to a bad fire. Many a times the ships are carpeted. They ensure that the carpets are made of such material that they don’t catch fire. Nevertheless, in spite of all these precautions there may be a possibility that the carpet catches fire and as a result leads to mass destruction. It becomes more difficult to control fire in a passenger ship as there are more of passengers and guests.

The passages in a ship are generally narrow. If fire occurs there is too much smoke in these passages. As a result the visibility becomes bad. This also leads to a lot of confusion. Many people could try to escape at the same time. There may be a situation of stampede. Due to smoke many passengers and crew members may also choke to death.

All these types of fires mentioned above may occur in a ship even with the slightest of carelessness. The crew members and the master of the ship need to be extra careful when it comes to fire. They should try to control the fire before it spreads. If the fire spreads then it may be quite difficult to control it.

There are lot of rules that has been made to ensure that the ships don’t meet with unforeseen fires. There is a list of guidelines that have been issued to all the shipping companies of the world. The initiatives taken by the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) has reduced the chances of fire to a great deal all across the world. The guidelines state that the crew members must be aware of how to react in case of fire. Every part of the ship guidelines are printed on what should be done and what not.

Every floor and every point in a ship is provided with extinguishers. These ensure that in case of fire people don’t get scared and they know what to do. The crew members participate in a mock drill on a regular basis. This helps them to be better prepared for a situation like a sudden fire.

The passenger ships also try to ensure that the people travelling are made aware of the basic fire safety rules. These rules help to make the ships safer. The IMO states that in passenger ships there should be enough crew members to ensure that each and every passenger is taken care of well.

The ships must be provided with enough lifeboats so that all the crew members are safe. The crew members must ensure that they work as a team. The priority should be to save the lives of the passengers on the ship. The life boats and jackets should be tested and maintained in a good condition. These simple steps suggested by IMO have played a vital role in making the sea a safer place for all. The loss of life due to fire accidents have reduced considerably.

These may seem simple steps and points seemingly, however, it is a fact that in time of fire due to panic people often forget the basic rules. In the fire fighting techniques the crew members are taught to have a cool mind and be strong. I hope you have understood why fires are at sea dangerous and how they can be controlled.

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