MAIB REPORT ON THE EDDYSTONE AND RED EAGLE
The MAIB report on the Eddystone and Red Eagle, regarding the unintentional release of carbon dioxide (CO2) from fixed fire-extinguishing system on board the roll on, roll off (ro-ro) cargo vessel Eddystone in June 2016 and a similar incident on board the ro-ro passenger ferry Red Eagle in July 2017, is now published.
On 8 June 2016, the roll on, roll off cargo vessel Eddystone experienced an unintentional release of carbon dioxide from its fixed fire-extinguishing system while on passage in the Southern Red Sea. A similar incident took place on 17 July 2017 on board the roll on, roll off passenger ferry Red Eagle while on passage from the Isle of Wight to Southampton. In both cases, the engine room distribution valve for the carbon dioxide gas remained closed and gas leaked out into the compartment where the carbon dioxide cylinders were stored. Fortunately, no one was harmed in either of these incidents. However, a report issued by the UK Health and Safety Executive stated that the unintended release of carbon dioxide from fire-extinguishing systems caused 72 deaths and 145 injuries, mainly in the marine industry, between 1975 and 2000.
In both incidents, the release of carbon dioxide was found to be the result of malfunctioning cylinder valves. The MAIB investigation revealed that maintenance of the fire-extinguishing systems had been inadequate, and that the available guidance for the marine industry on the maintenance and inspection of carbon dioxide fixed fire-extinguishing systems was insufficient.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has issued a safety bulletin to the operators of all UK registered vessels regarding the appropriate maintenance of carbon dioxide fixed fire-extinguishing systems. This bulletin clarifies the UK administration’s position with respect to the application of the international requirements for the testing of gas cylinders.
AW Ship Management (Eddystone’s manager) and Red Funnel (Red Eagle’s owner/ manager) have replaced the components that contributed to these incidents on the sister vessels in their fleets.
Recommendations have been made to:
- The Maritime and Coastguard Agency, to seek clarification from the International Maritime Organization of the maximum permitted periodicity between hydrostatic testing of individual high pressure cylinders (MSC.1/Circ.1318); and, to ensure that all safety devices fitted to carbon dioxide fixed fire-extinguishing systems are maintained and surveyed appropriately.
- Det Norske Veritas – Germanischer Lloyd and Lloyd’s Register, to raise with the International Association of Classification Societies the issue of the quality of service provided by approved service suppliers in the maintenance of carbon dioxide fixed fire-extinguishing systems.
The owners of Red Eagle, to review the design of the carbon dioxide fire-extinguishing systems fitted to their vessels where the leakage of a single cylinder valve causes the entire system to discharge.