Case Study: Soot Blowing Leads To Fire

A tanker was underway at sea when two crew members noticed smoke coming from the upper deck alleyway. They alerted the rest of the crew and started investigating the source of the smoke.

They quickly found that the canvas cover of the emergency towing wire aft had caught fire. The emergency response procedures were activated and the fire was quickly extinguished.

The company investigation concluded that the incident was probably caused by a soot particle emitted from the funnel during soot blowing.

Real Life Incident Soot Blowing Risk
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Lessons learned

  • Soot blowing has associated risks. As such, proper procedures and risk control measures should be implemented.
  • The OOW on the bridge should be informed before soot blowing begins. It may be necessary to alter the ship’s course during blowing to help prevent soot deposits and sparks from accumulating on deck.
  • Soot blowing must not be carried out when the wind is blowing from the stern.
  • During the soot blowing process deck crew should be assigned to monitor the open deck and ensure that sparks and ignited soot are safely controlled.
  • Combustible material should not be stored on the open deck. It should always be properly and safely stored in closed, dedicated spaces.


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