A ship crew’s successful efforts to stop an engine fire from spreading throughout the vessel was the result of realistic scenario-based training, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
An investigation into an April 28, 2021, fire aboard the containership President Eisenhower demonstrates the importance of such training, the NTSB states in its report on the incident.
No injuries, $8.22 million in damage
The ship was passing through the Santa Barbara Channel in California when the fire began in the engine room after a technical mishap caused fuel oil to spray onto a nearby unshielded and uninsulated cylinder exhaust component.
Crew members fought the fire using fire hoses and a fixed water mist system before using the engine room’s fixed carbon dioxide fire extinguishing system, which eventually put the fire out.
There were no injuries among the 22 crew members onboard the vessel. Damage was estimated at $8.22 million.
Investigators determined the crew of the President Eisenhower effectively contained the spread of the engine room fire by removing fuel and oxygen sources, cooling boundaries and communicating effectively.
Valuable in any industry
The NTSB said the crew’s efforts “show the importance of realistic scenario-based training … which involves shutting down machinery, fuel oil, lube oil and ventilation systems, as well as boundary monitoring, to quickly contain and suppress engine room fires.”
While the NTSB report is focused on maritime incidents, the value of realistic scenario-based training – including hands-on use of PPE and other equipment – can be applied to emergency response training in any industry.
Classroom training is also valuable, but nothing helps in retaining knowledge like being able to apply it to a real-world situation.