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Gard Guidance Masters FIRE

For further details please refer to Gard News 175, Facing the challenge of fire at sea.

Fire on board a vessel is one of the most dangerous situations for both crew and passengers. A fire on board may result in the total loss of the vessel. The Master and crew must be trained and drilled to react professionally to any fire. A well-trained crew is often able to contain a fire or even put it out, not only saving lives but also the vessel itself and the cargo.

The success of effective fire fighting is dependant upon a quick response

  • immediately assess the source of the fire
  • alert the entire fire fighting team and equip them ready to respond
  • close all the vessel’s openings as quickly as possible.

    It is essential that all members of the crew and other persons not directly involved in the fire fighting operation are evacuated as quickly as possible.

    It is a mandatory requirement under section 8 of the ISM Code to be prepared for such an emergency.

    As in any marine accident, the vessel should not be abandoned hastily, without the Master and his/her officers having evaluated the stability of the vessel.

    To prevent a fire occurring, safe working practices and smoking restrictions must be observed

  • on all tank vessels
  • on dry cargo vessels during cargo operations and when carrying dangerous goods on deck, even if stowed in containers
  • on deck on all vessels whilst in port
  • in the holds and engine rooms of all vessels
  • and in the cabin bunks.

    Please also see section 2.8.5 Safe working practices.

    The Master should ensure that the entire crew is aware of the risks of

  • smoke – irrespective of its source
  • pipe leakage
  • storage of combustible materials in confined spaces
  • defective insulation and electrical wiring
  • cargo remnants in the holds or spaces on deck forming a dangerous mixture likely to combust.

    In addition, sufficiently large and clearly marked NO SMOKING signs must be displayed in prominent places on board and observance of the no smoking policy must be monitored. All personnel and visitors must be made aware of the smoking restrictions.

    In case of fire please see section 3.8 Fire.