Fire in accommodation area on general cargo vessel Rosebank

Location: 7 miles east of Alnmouth, Northumberland, England.

Accident Investigation Report: Rosebank

Read our marine accident investigation report, which includes what happened, actions taken and subsequent recommendations:

rosebank.pdf (317.58 kb)


On 14 December 2001, at 0151 UTC, the general cargo vessel Rosebank suffered a fire and was abandoned by her crew about 7 miles east of Alnmouth, off the Northumberland coast. A rescue helicopter airlifted all the crew off the vessel, and took them ashore. The situation was monitored by an RN vessel alongside, and a salvage vessel.

Safety Issues

  • most probable cause was an electrical failure within the motor compartments of one of the domestic fridges or freezers operating within the space
  • subsequent ignition of residual dust, dirt or other debris within the motor cabinet led to a significant fire within that and other adjacent units
  • communication between the bridge and the fire party was inhibited because of a failure to use the three available hand-held VHF sets
  • spread of the fire into the accommodation was caused by the fire-fighting team failing to follow boundary cooling techniques and monitor all sides of the seat of the fire


It is recommended that the MCA reviews the requirement which allows the continued use of smoke helmet/smoke masks in place of SCBA sets.

This report was published in August 2002.

Published 23 January 2015