14th May 2024

Fire – Resin in a container

Initial Report

The fire was discovered as the vessel lay anchored off a port. Following the activation of the vessel’s fire alarm, assistance from the shore authorities was sought. Fireboats from the maritime authorities were dispatched. Water cannons were employed to engulf the burning deck container stacks. After several hours, the fire was reported to be under control.

The operation involved firefighting in a restricted space and resulted in damage to the containers on fire and to adjacent containers.

CHIRP Comment

CHIRP commends the crew and shore authorities for their swift action in containing the fire, which posed a significant threat to the vessel. The incident underscores the difficulty of combating fires in confined spaces like those found on ships.

Understanding the contents of containers is crucial for crew safety and vessel integrity. Mis-declared containers, a common issue, can significantly endanger crew lives. In this case, the containers involved contained resin, which can be transported in various forms, such as bags, drums, containers, or bulk, and may fall under IMDG Class 3 or 4, depending on their state.

Liquid resins, classified as IMDG Class 3, are highly flammable and can form explosive vapours in the air. Some resins may polymerise explosively when exposed to heat or fire.

Both liquid and solid resin spillages can trigger exothermic reactions when they come into contact with other substances in the container. It is essential to exercise due diligence with shippers to ensure proper packaging, stowing, and labelling of goods.

CHIRP recommends providing a photograph of the stowed dangerous goods (DG) container before sealing the doors. This allows the crew to understand the cargo behind the doors, enhancing their awareness of the challenges in combating fires involving such cargoes.

Key Issues relating to this report

Capability—Do your ship and shore staff properly know the IMDG code to understand the risks? Have you been given a training course on transporting dangerous goods by sea? Does your ship have the necessary firefighting equipment to fight different types of fire in restricted spaces?

Communications- How diligently does your company engage with shippers who ship dangerous goods?

  • Capability
  • Communication

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