Fire in engine room of ro-ro passenger ferry Isle of Inishmore

Location: Berthed at in Pembroke Dock, England.

Completed PE Summary: Isle of Inishmore

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Merchant Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name Isle of Inishmore
Manager Dobson Fleet Management
Ship Owner Irish Continental Group Plc
Port of Registry Limassol
Flag Cyprus
Classification Society Lloyd’s Register
Type Ro-ro passenger ferry
Built 1997
Construction Steel
Length Overall 182.5m
Gross Tonnage 34031
Date/Time 30/07/2008, 0130
Location of Incident Ro-ro berth, Pembroke Dock
Incident Type Fire
Persons Onboard 89 crew, 227 passengers
Injuries/Fatalities None
Damage/Pollution Thermal oil heater disabled/None


As Isle of Inishmore arrived in port, flames were briefly seen emitting from the starboard uptakes. On investigation, it was suspected that thermal oil was leaking into the thermal oil heater’s furnace from the heater coils. The thermal oil heater was turned off and its fuel supply isolated, and focus then shifted to switching the ship’s machinery fuel supply from heavy fuel oil to diesel.

A fire then broke out in the thermal oil heater and flames flashed out of the burner air intake igniting lagging and other materials in the engine room. This external fire was extinguished quickly, but the fire inside the heater furnace took much longer to completely extinguish as there was no means of closing off the air intake to the burner; there was no injection point into the furnace for an extinguishing medium; and the thermal oil in the coils could not be drained away as the heater was mounted horizontally.

The ship’s passengers were mustered during the emergency, but stayed on board as the fire was contained and under control very quickly.

Action taken

Lloyd’s Register has undertaken to review the rules governing thermal oil heater fire fighting arrangements and to highlight to IACS the issues arising from this accident.

The Deputy Chief Inspector has written to the ferry managers highlighting the safety issues that have arisen as a result of this accident.

Published: October 2008

Updates to this page

Published 23 January 2015