FIRE DUE TO IGNORANCE :
The following incident took place in my last ship. It was a feeder container vessel. Ship was berthed late night and the departure was early morning. Pilot was on board and vessel started moving. During maneuvering, as the engine RPM started raising, fire was noticed in the exhaust manifold. Since it was maneuvering time, most of the engine room personnel were present and the fire was put off immediately, even before the fire alarm triggered.
No o’hauling of engine took place during the port stay and on arrival time all main engine parameters were normal. So cause to the fire was not known immediately. On further investigation, it came to our knowledge that oiler who was entrusted the work of cleaning main engine top platform including the cylinder heads, applied chemical to remove some oil stain on exhaust manifold lagging cover since it could not he removed easily, he applied more & more chemical on it, which later seeped in, and came in contact with exhaust manifold. This caused the fire due to increase in temp of exhaust manifold.
Lesson Learnt :
The oiler was new, and his intention was good. In this case he was not to use chemical in some area where it could cause of fire later. And the communication between the two persons who entrusted the work and the other who executed the work was minimum or nil. It emphasises the importance of proper communication.