Investigation Into 2012 Fatal Engine Room Fire Finds New Safety Rules are Needed

An investigation done by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has found that an oil spray started the fatal 2012 engine fire that killed a tugboat’s chief engineer. The fire occurred on March 27, 2012 aboard the Patrice McAllister on Lake Ontario. Federal Officials are reviewing the incident to determine if additional safety regulations are necessary to prevent future engine room fires on towing vessels.

Investigators found that the probable cause of the fire was lubricating oil that had sprayed from a fractured fitting on the portside main engine’s pump that was ignited by the hot surface of the engine’s exhaust manifold. The 49-year-old chief engineer of the boat was burned on over 90 percent of his body in the fire, which killed him. The rest of the crew was trapped on the boat in survival suits until rescuers arrived. The crew was treated for smoke inhalation.

According to the NTSB, the Coast Guard  is working on proposed rules for improving the safety on towing vessels, including storing the fire pump’s hose and nozzle outside the machinery space and additional fire protection equipment for crew and means to combat fire in the engine rooms. The Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC) issued recommendations to the Coast Guard in September 2013 to improve fire safety in engine spaces.

The Coast Guard will also be releasing its investigative report regarding the fire on the PATRICE MCALLISTER at some point in the future with its various recommendations for the industry

Fires on board vessels at sea can cause serious injuries and cause crews to evacuate. Burn injuries can completely alter someone’s life, both physically and mentally. Unfortunately, many times, if burns cover most of a victim’s body, they can be fatal. Maritime workers are vulnerable to many different burn accidents due to engine room accidents, boiler accidents, flammable cargo, corrosive chemicals, hot water and steam and explosions.

Have You Been Injured While Working at Sea?

Latti & Anderson LLP has represented many crew members over the years who have sustained burns.  Latti & Anderson LLP obtained $4.5 million settlement for an engineer who was burned over her body by scalding hot water.

The nationwide maritime attorneys at Latti & Anderson have been representing those injured on land and at sea for over 50 years. If you have been injured in a maritime accident, our attorneys can help you seek compensation under the Jones Act. We want to get you and your family the compensation you deserve. Get in touch with us today to discuss your options.

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