Fire in accommodation area on general cargo vessel Celtic Carrier with 1 person injured

Location: Off Cape Trafalgar, Spain.

Accident Investigation Report 18/2014

Investigation report into marine accident including what happened, safety lessons and recommendations made:

Celtic-Carrier.pdf (2,830.18 kb)

Celtic Carrier


While on passage from Gibraltar to Belfast, a United Kingdom registered general cargo ship suffered an accommodation fire. The fire, which started after a crew member fell asleep in bed while holding a lit cigarette, caused an electrical failure of the ship’s steering gear, and resulted in heat, smoke and water damage to the majority of the accommodation spaces. One crew member was injured and the ship was subsequently towed to Cadiz for repair.

Safety lessons

  • Celtic Carrier’s crew were ill-prepared for the emergency; there was a lack of leadership, and sub-standard fire-fighting techniques resulted in crew members being unnecessarily exposed to danger

  • the records of some emergency drills recorded in the ship’s Official Log Book were falsified, which calls into question the validity of other records and demonstrates that a complacent approach to safety existed on board

  • the ship owners need to involve its crews in the application of the SMS to ensure its success was not fully recognised

  • the lack of a national database for International Safety Management Code audits constrained the Maritime and Coastguard’s ability to conduct fleet performance trend analysis, and to ensure that a consistent approach to auditing was carried out


We have made recommendations (2014/129, 2014/130 and 2014/131) to CMW aimed at developing a robust safety culture both ashore and across its fleet. Additionally, the MCA has been recommended (2014/132, 2014/133 and 2014/134) to review its processes for managing the information gained from surveys, audits and inspections relating to the ISM Code.

Published: 16 July 2014

Updates to this page

Published 23 January 2015