The investigation of a fire which led to the death of four crew members on board the tug boat Zeus in Sölvesborg port in September 2015 has now been completed and the report published by the Polish Accident Investigation Authority in cooperation with the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority. There are a number of aspects to learn from for shipowners and seafarers in general, but in particular for those sailing on similar tonnage. The fire probably started with a piece of cloth that came in contact with an old incandescent bulb, which create far more heat than the newer LED lamps. Since the ship was a relatively old model, the requirements for interior materials were not as high as on more modern ships (in Sweden, national vessels covered by the fire protection rules prior to Swedish Maritime Administration 1970 A:13 regulations), and requirements for fire detection and extinguishing equipment are also lower. This implies that there is a greater risk of a fire spreading and producing toxic gases on board older ships than their modern counterparts, and the chances of detecting a fire, saving the crew and fighting a fire are also lower. Three of the four crew members who died were awake and had probably tried to escape but were overcome by the toxic gases formed by the fire. This is an absolutely essential lesson to learn from the event, since it shows just how importance it is to be alerted in time to react. The importance of modern fire and smoke detection systems on board ships cannot be stressed enough, even on older vessels that are not covered by the same technical requirements as more modern vessels. It is also vital to have fire drills in accordance with current procedures so that any weaknesses in the system are discovered and all of the crew know how to act if an accident should happen.
The report is available on the SHK website: http://www.havkom.se/