On 1 May 2014, the DFDS A/S ferry Dieppe Seaways was approaching the Eastern Ferry Terminal at the Port of Dover when an uncontrolled fire broke out in the furnace of the port thermal oil heater.
The investigation has identified that a crack in the thermal oil heater coil allowed thermal oil to enter the furnace, resulting in an uncontrolled furnace fire. It is concluded that the coil failed as a result of stress caused by the weld securing the refractory insulation support plate.
Importance of positive control of firefighting efforts with ship’s master retaining overall responsibility for the safety of the ship and crew.
The overarching requirement for the command team to continually review actions taken by both ship’s crew and shore firefighters ensuring that their actions are complementary and do not compromise each other’s safety.
Maintenance records must be comprehensive highlighting equipment failures/deficiencies to allow inspections and surveys to focus on high risk areas.
Recommendations have been made to the thermal oil heater manufacturer, Prozess-Wärmeträgertechnik GmbH (2015/148), to investigate alternative methods of securing the refractory insulation plate; the ship’s classification society, Det Norske Veritas Germanischer Lloyd (2015/149), to provide additional guidance to its surveyors with regard to examining thermal oil heaters; Kent Fire and Rescue Service (2015/150) in respect of shipboard training and procedures; and both Det Norske Veritas Germanischer Lloyd and DFDS A/S (2015/151), to review the suitability of dry powder as a fixed fire-extinguishing medium for use in thermal oil heater furnaces.