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Precis File
source Tradewinds, 2010-01-08
type A
dead 9

At least nine crew members have died in a Christmas day fire on board as Atlantic Bulk Carrier's vessel. At least five crew of the 37,300 dwt Aegean Wind (built 1983) have suffered serious injuries, says Admiral Carlos Aniasi, the commandant of the Venezuelan Navy.

The bulker caught fire while it was in the Caribbean about 61 km from the island of Blanquilla off Venezuela's northeast coast.

It had a crew of nine Greeks and 15 Filipinos on board, some of whom were rescued by helicopter. Most of the injured were taken to a military hospital on Margarita but one man with third degree burns was taken to a Caracas hospital.

Aniasi says the cause of the fire is not yet known. The blaze is believed to have begun in the engine room and spread quickly to the bridge.

source CTX
type C
dead 1

The fire actually started in the lower accommodations, not the engine room. The smoke was sucked into the air conditioning system and quickly spread throughout the accommodations by the HVAC fans. The deaths were from smoke inhalation from people sleeping in their cabins. The fire detection and alarm system worked; but there is no interlock between the fire alarm and the HVAC system.

CTX believes it is obvious that a fire/smoke alarm should automatically shut down the HVAC fans. This is a requirement on passenger ships. There is no reason why it should not be a requirement on all ships. The cost would be at most a few hundred dollars per ship, much less for a newbuilding. The only downside is the crew's lose their air conditioning for a few minutes in the event of a false alarm. This is a no-brainer.