Two seafarers died due to a fire in the accommodation on a fully laden 21000 gt bulk carrier in the Indian Ocean.
Woken up by smoke coming through the side bulk ward, an able seaman activated the fire alarm on board the 180m vessel. Together with the bosun, who appeared quickly on scene, he tried to extinguish the fire, he had located on the upper deck. The bosun ordered the meanwhile mustered crew to open the accommodation doors on upper and poop deck. Due to the thick smoke the crew performed the fire fighting from the outside accesses to the accommodation and in this time realised that two of their colleagues were missing.
Wearing fire suits, the search for the missing seafarers ended in their cabin where they were found lifeless. The resuscitation attempts remained without success.
The fire was extinguished without further injuries or deaths.
Although there was a crew change, no safety drill was performed before departure.
With the abidance to proper protocol, emergency response procedure and training the turmoil that had erupted on the vessel when the fire broke out could have been avoided preserving the crew`s safety.
The fire fighting suits and gear were clearly donned too late in regard to the developing situation.
A manual call point button (mcp) was found difficult to handle.
The main recommendation is to improve methods of familiarization and team building. New crew members have to be made aware of their functions and responsibilities within the safety management system. It is also recommended to include vessel risks and dangers due to age in the familiarisation process. After changing parts of the crew a familiarisation drill should always be conducted as soon as practical, to ensure all crew are aware of their duties during an emergency right after joining the vessel.