NTSB finds hydraulic hose failure sparked fire on fishing boat off Massachusetts coast last year

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A hydraulic hose failure sparked a fire on a fishing boat off the coast of Massachusetts last year, resulting in the rescue by helicopter of all five crew members, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a report released this month. latest.

The fire broke out on the trawler Nobska while the crew was fishing on the bottom of Georges Bank, about 80 miles east of Cape Cod, on April 30, 2021, the agency said in A declaration released Thursday. A Coast Guard helicopter was able to reach the burning vessel and hoist the crew members out of the water, the report mentioned. No injuries were reported.

The vessel, which was built in 1988 and brought to New Bedford, was deemed a total loss with an estimated value of $2.4 million, the statement said. The fire that ultimately consumed the Nobska was the second on the ship that day.

“The NTSB has determined that the probable cause of the fire aboard the Nobska was a failure of a hydraulic hose in the engine room which allowed hydraulic fluid to spray onto a hot surface, likely the exhaust pipe of the main engine exposed,” the statement read. “Heat damage from a fire that occurred earlier in the day contributed to the failure of the hydraulic hose.”

Earlier, the crew extinguished a fire on the main engine exhaust pipe delay in the engine room and found “a ruptured hydraulic hose nearby in the hose/pipe tunnel connecting the engine room to the wheelhouse,” the statement read. The crew replaced the pipe with one of a similar size and the captain, who had 35 years of experience, decided to continue fishing, the statement said.

About four hours later, around 5:00 p.m., the Captain was in the wheelhouse when he noticed black smoke rising from under the deck winch control console. He alerted the crew, “and within moments the wheelhouse area was engulfed in flames,” the statement said.

“The second fire caused extensive damage throughout the vessel and was likely the result of another hydraulic hose leak, when the atomized fluid came in contact with a hot surface, most likely the engine exhaust pipe. main briefing, and burst into flames,” the statement read.

The crew withdrew to the stern of the ship, activated their beacon indicating the emergency position and deployed a life raft, according to the report. Two Coast Guard planes responded to the scene around 6:25 p.m. A rescue swimmer led the captain and crew into the water, where they were then hoisted into a helicopter, according to the report.

The pipe/house tunnel on the ship was found to lack “insulation, pipe/cable firestops or other barriers to prevent the passage of smoke, heat and fire – known under the name of structural fire protection,” the report said.

“This type of unprotected vertical tunnel has the potential to provide a pathway for fires to spread quickly outside of the originating space,” the report said. “Vessel owners and operators should identify these openings between decks and ensure they are structurally fire protected to prevent the spread of a fire.”


Nick Stoico can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @NickStoico.

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