On a boat, surrounded by water, you might not think that this would be the number one killer of sailors and seamen, but it is.
No, it’s not being washed overboard, or falling from a height or getting caught up in the cables.
Whether out to sea or in dry dock, the most common cause of fatalities and significant damage to the ship’s property is a fire.
Fires can start in a number of ways.
The most vulnerable part of any ship when it comes to fire is the ship’s engine room. Engine-room fires are common because of the fact that engine rooms can contain oil-fired boilers, leaky pipes carrying oil, overheated bearings, or the accumulation of garbage like oily rags, dirty oil, and tins of oil.
“Hot works” jobs, like welding and gas cutting frequently done in the engine room can also lead to fires. Fires on board a ship carrying highly flammable materials can lead to deadly explosions. Almost half of all onboard fires are caused by hot works.
Other things, like smoking, fuel spills, and spontaneous combustion can also cause onboard fires.
During dry dock, the engine room is filled with electrical connections for portable equipment such as blowers, grinders, drillers, lamps, etc. If not properly insulated, or if the circuits are allowed to become overloaded, it can cause a fire.
Fires on board ships have seriously injured or killed thousands of people over the years. Offshore oil rigs in particular are vulnerable to explosions caused by fires.
Putting out a fire that has started on a ship isn’t so easy. While ships may have plans in place for putting out fires, ships are small, confined spaces filled with cargo and equipment. Putting out a fire on board can be an impossible task. If the fire can’t be put out, crew members may have no choice but to go overboard. A fire that gets out of control can sink a ship.
Unfortunately, many ship fires that have ended in a disaster could have been prevented. While not always the case, many ship fires are caused by sloppy practices, improperly maintained electrical systems or equipment, Lack of safety training is also a big issue. When maritime workers are not properly trained or are not given the correct equipment, a fire is more likely to occur. And when it does, death or serious injuries are likely to be the result.
If you are a seaman who is injured by a fire or explosion while working on a vessel, or you have lost a loved one through a ship fire/explosion, call us. We are experienced maritime attorneys at Day Law Group. We fight hard to get our clients the compensation they deserve and we offer FREE consultations. We have offices in Baton Rouge and we serve Baker, Denham, Gonzales, Port Allen, Prairieville, New Orleans, and Zachary. So call 225-200-0000 ToDay to schedule your free consultation or contact us here.
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