July 25, 2021

Edison Chouest Anchor Handler towed across the Caribbean after fire

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11051890_945007735517192_2991978338744606458_n-635x476By Rob Almeida from gCaptain

The anchor handling tug supply vessel (AHTS) Edison Chouest has arrived in Port Fourchon after being towed by the AHTS Gulf Champion from Trinidad.

An anonymous source tells gCaptain a fuel return line failed on the vessel’s port main engine, a CAT 3616. The resultant fire burned up the engine and both winch engines and wiring on the deck above, in addition to causing a stack fire.

According to an investigation report into the incident shared with gCaptain, there were 14 crew members on board at the time of the incident and no injuries were sustained.

The report notes the fire alarm sounded and smoke was subsequently noticed rising from the port side of the engine room by the Chief Engineer. The fire alarm triggered the automatic shut-off of all fuel supplied to the engines and generators, which subsequently closed engine room dampers.

The report continues: “The Chief Engineer exited the engine room and closed the door. The vessel crew prepared for the fire and entered the engine room in an attempt to extinguish the fire. The Chief Engineer informed the crew the smoke was too thick, and it would be dangerous for anyone to enter the engine room. The Chief Engineer requested the Master to deploy the CO2 system. The Master gave instruction to deploy the CO2 system after it was safe to do so. The M/V Alex Chouest arrived and assisted with drift control until the M/V Max Chouest arrived to take over for them.”

The report points to a burst low-pressure flexible fuel hose located on top of and at the forward end of the diesel generator as the root cause of the incident. “The fuel sprayed over the generator flowed underneath the manifold shield and settled on the manifold where due to heat, fuel vapor was created and then ignited. Additionally, the spread of the fire was increased due to various items stowed on the deck grating directly above the engine,” the report said.

The following are the findings and actions as detailed in the report:

During the pre-delivery sea trials of the vessel, rigid air ducting was installed directly above the fuel filter hose. When the hose was pressurized the ducting caused an excessive bend and rubbing which created a weak point. This potential hazard was not detected by many interested parties over a considerable period of time, i.e. standard watch-keeping duties, on-hire inspections, port state control, manufacturer’s service visits and class inspection / approval visits etc.
There are numerous actions following the investigation the main ones are:
• Fleet experience transfer issued immediately following incident to check ALL hoses for condition and replace accordingly.
• Fleet experience transfer issued regarding the stowing of items above machinery.
• PMS to include guidance from IMO, P&I, SOLAS with regard to engine room fire prevention measures.
• Incident to be rolled out across the fleet as part of the monthly safety campaigns.
• Review the robustness of the inspection / examination process during planned maintenance.
• Liaise with manufacturers on engine design, manifold protection and “hot spot” arrangements.
An initial safety notice was sent out fleet wide to ensure all vessels hold a safety stand down and inspect all high pressure hydrocarbon connections and document it on a safety meeting form. A maintenance notice was also drafted for inspection procedures related to the incident. The 2,000 hour inspection checklist was also updated. Which were also sent to the fleet.

IMAGE: AHTS Edison Chouest in Port Fourchon. Image via Anonymous

For more on this story go to: https://gcaptain.com/edison-chouest-anchor-handler-towed-across-caribbean-catching-fire/

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