Safety warning after fire and subsequent sinking of a workboat

This documents gives advice to owners and operators of similar vessels following a fire and sinking of ECC Topaz off Lowestoft, England.

Safety Bulletin 2/2014

Safety Bulletin 2-2014.pdf (1,869.42 kb)


ECC Topaz

On 14 January 2014 workboat ECC Topaz caught fire 11 nautical miles east of Lowestoft and subsequently sank.

The initial stage of the MAIB investigation found the most likely cause of the fire to be an uninsulated exhaust pipe from an air heater being in close proximity to the plywood structure of the vessel. Evidence from similar vessels indicated that this was not an isolated case and this Safety Bulletin was published with the following advice to owners and operators:

  • Check that all exhaust pipes on their vessels are fully insulated and do not come close to combustible material.
  • Fit fire/smoke detectors in enclosed spaces where diesel-fired air heaters are installed.
  • Avoid placing flammable material in compartments that contain potential heat sources.

Published: February 2014

Published 23 January 2015