Fire risks: Shipyard & Lay-By Repairs

Allianz Risk Consultants recently published some common causes of fires aboard vessels in shipyards:

  • Insufficient clearing and/or protection of combustibles from hot work sparks or slag and/or insufficient clearing along bulkheads of adjacent spaces;
  • Fire watch not remaining on site after cessation of hot work asfire generates from hot slag or residual heat;
  • Insufficient cleaning of coatings and/or residual product remaining on adjacent bulkheads in way of hot work;
  • Failure to maintain conditions in a space and not following permit instructions;
  • Welders entering and starting hot work in the wrong compartment or space;
  • Person issuing the certificate not understanding the scope of work or a change in scope of work and repairs beginning without any inspection or testing;
  • Improper inspection and testing by person issuing certificate, including improperly maintained equipment;
  • Insufficient cleaning (scraping) of rust scale within a tank (impregnated with product), which leads to vapour regeneration, during hot work; and,
  • Failure to lock out and secure a compartment, allowing the introduction of combustible product from inadvertent opening of valves or pumping product.

Electrical fires on ships

Allianz Risk Consultants ( recently published a warning relating to electrical systems on board ships. They are subject to considerably more hazards and exposures than typically experienced ashore. These additional hazards include:- sea water – wetting – high humidity – vibration – constant motion 
-  significant exposures to hot and cold temperature extremes.

Best practice recommendations:

  • Ensure shipboard staff and any contractors permitted to undertake modifications to ships electrical installations are fully trained and competent with the current regulations required by flag state and/or class requirements.
  • Whenever undertaking any modifications to shipboard electrical systems, always consult and seek approval with flag state and class authorities to ensure compliance with relevant electrical regulations.
  • For UK ships, references are available within:

MCA Marine Guidance Note MGN359 (M); Merchant Shipping (Passenger Ship Construction) Regulations 1998 & Merchant Shipping (Cargo Ship Construction) Regulations 1997 and British Standard BS8450 ‘Code of Practice for Installation of Electrical and Electronic Equipment in Ships’.