Fire in engine room of ro-ro passenger ferry Norsea

Location: Off Norfolk, England.

Accident Investigation Report 16/2003

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

Norsea.pdf (480.09 kb)


While on passage from Hull to Zeebrugge, with 487 passengers and 124 crew on board, the passenger ro-ro ferry Norsea suffered a fire in her aft engine room during the early hours of 2 September 2002. Norsea was about 7 miles off the East Anglian coast.

Safety issues

  • the bridge watchkeeping second officer was not fully conversant with correct emergency procedure because of weaknesses in his induction training

  • although effective in extinguishing the fire, the carbon dioxide smothering system malfunctioned and discharged too much gas into the aft engine room

  • the acceptance of a watch alarm as a substitute for a second machinery space watchkeeper might place personnel at risk


Recommendations have been addressed to the MCA and to the manufacturers of the generator’s engine, which, if implemented, should help in preventing a recurrence of the accident.

This report was published in June 2003.

Published 23 January 2015