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EMERGENCIES, FIRE IN ENGINE ROOM

The following text prepared is keeping in mind, the resolution A.1072(28) adopted on 4 December 2013, ‘Revised guidelines for a structure of an integrated system of contingency planning for shipboard emergencies’. The following objectives are kept in mind:

  1. Identifying and following common action items to avoid confusion.
  2. Crew is arranged into various teams and the team structure does not change as various emergencies are tackled.
  3. Similar duties are assigned to crew members, as far as practicable.
  4. None of the important duties are missed out.
  5. Precious time is not lost.

Emergency: Fire in Engine Room

Signal: Continuous sounding of ship’s electrical bell or ship’s whistle for not less than 10 seconds. ‘Fire in Engine room is spoken on ship’s address system.

Emergency: Engine Room Fire

Sr. NoRankSpecific duties for Fire in Eng Room
 Bride Team
1MasterOverall in-charge with stations at bridge. Overall monitoring and coordination of operation.To prepare for transmission of distress / Urgency and transmit in standardized format.To call for external response (if necessary). In case engines are still on, head in a direction in which smoke is expelled away from bridge.Message to nearest port control, coast station, ships in vicinity, owners, charterers and Flag State communication centre. Discuss with Chief Engineer on the matters like possible cause of fire and firefighting strategy. To consider the assistance required in respect of: Salvage Port of Refuge Lightening Fire fighting External response team. Assessment of stability, stresses, etc in consultation with Ch Off. To prepare for record keeping.
63rd OfficerAssist Master in navigation and course keeping. Log keeping, communication, etc.
161 H/manOn bridge
 Attack Team
2Ch OfficerIn charge of attack team.To brief about specific duties after head count.  Stations at damage site. To make the damage assessment. Ch off. with crew 3, 4 & 5 and saloon crew 3 and 4 provide local fire fighting, boundary cooling, etc.
9Fitter1Soundings Deck, assist Ch Off.
17Crew 3Assist Chief Officer at site, large capacity extinguisher.
18Crew 4Assist Chief Officer at site, fire hose, and nozzles.
19Crew 5Assist Chief Officer at site, fire hose, SCBA.
22Salon 3Assist Chief Officer, fire hose, fire axe.
23Salon 4Assist Chief Officer, portable fire extinguisher.
 Engine Room Team
3Ch EngineerIncharge of engine room team,CO2 Room.
84th EngineerHead Count & Assist Chief Engineer. Quick Closing Valves.
14ER 1Assist Chief Engineer in E/R. Fire dampers.
15ER 2Assist Chief Engineer in E/R.
 Technical Team
42nd EngineerIncharge Technical Team, Emergency Generator.
73rd EngineerEmergency Fire pump.
11ElectricianEmergency Lights, Batteries assist 2nd Engineer.
10Fitter 2Assist 2nd Engineer.
24ER 3Assist 2nd Engineer.
 Support Team
52nd OfficerIncharge Support Team. Monitor adjacent areas.
12Crew 1To assist 2nd officer. Hose. Boundary cooling.
13Crew 2Spare air bottles.
20Saloon 1Blankets.
21Saloon 2Stretcher.

[A] Initial Actions

The person who discovers the fire must quickly decide if he should try and extinguish fire prior raising alarm. In most cases or if he has slightest of doubt, he must first ring the alarm. The attempt to fight the fire would generally make use of sand, a portable fire extinguisher or even the doormat tarpaulin, etc. OOW must call Master immediately but in the mean time can take those actions which are absolutely important such as ringing the alarm signal, calling ‘fire in engine room; etc. In the mean time tasks like; head count of various teams and report to bridge also can be accomplished.

[B] Master’s Responsibilities

The Master is responsible for the organizational prerequisites for emergency handling and for the availability and immediate use of the systems and equipment available but should delegate the various tasks to suitable qualified officers. Brief meeting should be conducted with senior officers, if practicable. Otherwise the exchange of information can be done on phone. A report to Port Control, Designated Coastal Authority and ‘Emergency Response Services’ is made.

[C] Measures to be taken
Urgency or Mayday message is sent as appropriate with name call sign, position, brief details about the emergency.
With quick closing valves and dampers fuel and air is cut off from engine room. If it is decided that fire is to be fought with portable appliances or local means, then withdrawing from engine room must be done quickly, without a casualty.
There must not be undue delay in the use of fixed fire fighting system, which may be caused due some poorly managed activity. Boundary cooling is very important in case of engine room fire, to prevent the spread and to keep the boat deck always accessible. The electrical cable, paneling, insulation, etc. must be protected through boundary cooling. Adjacent areas are closely monitored.

Throughout the operation the engine room team and the technical team, monitors and control the technical, mechanical and electrical devices that are needed to support the emergency response and to provide maximum technical readiness.
The support team, in addition to boundary cooling, supports the attack team engaged in fire fighting operation, as required. It provides standby manpower by helping the members of the attack team to get equipped and by getting equipment and breathing apparatus.
Near the fire area, as well as in smoke free area keep hose nozzles, axes and spare cylinders for breathing apparatus, etc handy. Additionally, the following things are accomplished:

[D] Follow-up actions
Subsequent to flooding CO2, following are considered prior opening the engine room:

  1. Time elapsed since CO2 injected.
  2. Finding the temperatures from various positions, sources.
  3. Sending a crew with SCBA in engine room, to check if fire is extinguished
  4. Checking thoroughly if here is any possibility of re flash.

[E] Steps to initiate External Response:

If the engines cannot be started or owing to the present condition of hull, etc an external help has to be taken then consideration is made in respect of taking salvage services, etc. Various information needed by external service providers, such as number of crew, dangerous goods, etc is kept ready. The possible areas of concern would be:

[F] Reporting

[G] Pollution
SOPEP is followed if pollution occurs.

[H] Abandoning
The impact of fire, seaworthiness, damage to hull, stability and the other relevant factors are considered and careful consideration is made regarding the abandoning. 

[I]  Measures in case of emergency in port
Local fire brigade is contacted. International shore connection and fire safety plan is kept ready. Harbour / shore side units, agents, etc are informed.  Shore agencies are also informed about hazardous/dangerous goods.

[J] Non-conformity report
All non-conformities / deficiencies becoming known by the Master, officers and responsible crew members in connection with measures should be collected, recorded and sent to the company/designated person(s) or other, nominated person(s) as soon as possible.

[K] Restore normal ship routine/operation
The used equipment are made operational. The final or end report is transmitted to various parties as appropriate.

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