Fire at sea

Warning sign

I don't recall ever hearing a news report about a ship sinking off our coast due to fire. The most recent incident of a fire at sea, that I'm able to recall, was last year when Cape Town's Fire and Rescue services boarded a cargo ship near Britannia Bay (map) to help extinguish a fire that had erupted in the ship's engine room. It took many hours of work under difficult conditions, but fortunately the ship and all it's crew were saved and towed back to Table Bay Harbour.

Imagine how scary it must be to have your ship catch alight while at sea. One would think that with all the water around it would be easy to extinguish a fire - but with the right flammable materials and without the necessary equipment - it's sometimes impossible to stop a fire before it causes the ship to sink.

I imagine that this door would lead to the engine room, and that opening it during a fire would supply oxygen to the flames, causing them to burn more furiously.

2 thoughts on “Fire at sea

  1. Paul

    I think perhaps door is also watertight therefore less chance of ship going belly up too. But yes I well recall seeing footage of HMS Sheffield on fire during Falklands war, I had once spent some time on her previously, and was amazed at how she burned. Something I will never forget, never really though much about fire on a ship before this

  2. Paul

    Post author

    Paul, yeah, I guess that’s what the “close doors while at sea” would be about. W.r.t. the HMS Sheffield – I read in the Wikipedia article that she burned so furiously because of the diesel tanks which caught alight in the engine room (as well as the flammable materials used in the ships construction).

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