Investigation Report: Fire On Board The Livestock Carrier Ocean Drover

The information contained in this Preliminary report is released in accordance with section 25 of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 and is derived from the initial investigation of the occurrence. Readers are cautioned that new evidence will become available as the investigation progresses that will enhance the ATSB’s understanding of the accident as outlined in this Preliminary report. As such, no analysis or findings are included in this report.

What happened

On the morning of 9 October 2014, a fire started in Ocean Drover’s crew accommodation while the livestock carrier was berthed in Fremantle and preparing to load cargo. The fire quickly spread and the ship’s crew and a number of the port’s emergency response teams fought to control it for the rest of the day. Four of the ship’s crew sustained smoke inhalation requiring medical treatment; one being hospitalised for smoke inhalation and burns.

Ocean drover
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By the time the fire was extinguished the following day, the accommodation areas and the ship’s navigation bridge had been extensively damaged.

What the ATSB has found so far

Initial analysis by the ATSB and the Western Australia Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) indicates that the fire started in one of the central forward cabins on the upper deck. The fire quickly spread and engulfed both the upper deck and the bridge deck above.

Investigation direction

The investigation is ongoing and will focus on:

  • the circumstances and mechanisms of the fire initiation and spread
  • the operation and efficacy of the ship’s fire detection, protection and extinguishing systems
  • crew training and shipboard emergency response.


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