Cayman Islands Shipping Registry the maritime authority of the Islands have recently issued a flyer to the super yacht industry on the subject of fires onboard large yachts.
They highlight the number of incidents involving fires onboard superyachts that have recently been reported to them.
Many of these fires have been attributed to the failure of electrical systems or components. The damage caused by these fires has ranged from the superficial to the extensive.
Fortunately, no one has been killed or seriously injured in these fires, but the potential for fire to escalate posing a significant threat to life and property should not be under estimated.
In one recent incident, crew members from a nearby yacht were required to tackle the fire as there were insufficient crew onboard the yacht when it was first discovered. Fires can quickly escalate from the minor to life and yacht threatening in a very short period of time.
The authority cautions, “For this reason, it is important that there are sufficient personnel available to assess the extent of the fire and take the appropriate actions.
The recommend using the pneumonic FIRE standing for Find Inform Restrict Extinguish.
The performance of electrical systems and components should form part of the operation maintenance regime on board.
Switchboard earth resistance should be regularly checked and any fall in resistance properly investigated.
Protection devices for “earth leakage” and “over current” should be regularly tested to ensure they remain in an operational condition.
A survey of electrical systems by Thermal Camera Imaging will often give an early indication of electrical “hot spots” before a fire risk is apparent by other means.
When a yacht is moored, sufficient qualified staff should always be present onboard to tackle a fire in its early stages, or to move the yacht out of “harm’s way” should a fire occur nearby or on a adjacent vessel.
Whenever electrical equipment is added or replaced care should be taken to ensure that conductors and protective devices are properly sized for the electrical load and that circuits are not overloaded.
The document, they issued containing urgent safety information, was produced for marine safety purposes only, on the basis of information available to date. The sole objective of the investigation of any accident conducted under the Cayman Islands Merchant Shipping Law (2008 Revision) is the prevention of future accidents through the ascertainment of its causes and circumstances.
It is not the purpose of an investigation to determine liability or, except as it is necessary to achieve its objective, to apportion blame.