Fires on fishing vessels

May/June 2006

In one such case on an Eastern rig scalloper, a loose fitting sprayed lube oil onto the engine manifold, which then ignited. After the fire started there was no way to close off engine room ventilation, or shut off the engine’s fuel or lube oil supply. Natural ventilation and the open entrance to the engine room allowed the fire to quickly flow up and aft into the wheelhouse. The sight tubes on a fuel tank melted, allowing the fuel to spill directly onto the flames, and the fire was soon out of control. There are countless variations on this theme.

A galley fire occurred aboard Argo, an 80-foot, wooden Alaskan fishing vessel, in July 1999, and within just a few minutes the vessel was burning out of control. Moments later the tanks exploded and the crew barely had time to don survival suits and abandon the boat. There was no time to get off a distress message. Fortunately, the fire was seen from shore and the crew was rescued without loss of life, but the vessel was lost.  

By Ocean Navigator