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Department of Transport Examining MCIB Fire Safety Recommendation for Charter Boats

1st February 2022
A photo from the MCIB report showing the River Shannon hire cruiser on fire
A photo from the MCIB report showing the River Shannon hire cruiser on fire

The Department of Transport is examining the recommendation from the Marine Casualty Investigation Board that new regulations should be made to govern the safe use of recreational craft used for commercial purposes, which should include mandatory fire detection on vessels used for charter purposes.”

It is likely that the MCIB recommendation will be accepted and that new regulations will be drawn up to deal with the issues raised by the Board’s investigation into a fire aboard a chartered cruiser on the River Shannon near Jamestown, Co.Roscommon, on September 8, 2020 when four people aboard were rescued by a passing charter boat.

As Afloat reported previously, the detailed MCIB report concluded that the fire aboard the vessel had “started as a result of one of a number of potential electrical issues.” However, it said that the extent of the fire meant that "the exact component at fault will never be definitely determined."

Charter vessels are not considered passenger vessels and therefore are not subject to the requirements of the Merchant Shipping Act 1992. Instead, charter vessels come under the legislative requirements and recommendations detailed in the Code of Practice for the Safe Operation of Recreational Craft (2017).

The cover page of the MCIB reportThe cover page of the MCIB report

The MCIB says that the CoP “does not provide for the mandatory fitting of fire detection systems on recreational craft and hence there was no fire detection system fitted to the Carrickcraft vessel ‘X4’ aboard which the fire occurred,

“If this fire had started while any of the party were asleep then the consequences could have been more serious.”

The MCIB report recorded that, on 6 September 2020 “four clients of Carrickcraft, having rented a Linssen GrandSturdy 35.0 motor cruiser on the previous day, departed Carrick-on-Shannonnheading south. Approximately 45 minutes into their journey, near Jamestown, a fire broke out in the engine compartment. The clients abandoned the vessel onto a passing charter boat. The fire brigade attended the scene and extinguished the fire. Soon afterwards the vessel sank in approximately eight metres of water.”

Firefighters bring the blaze on board the pleasure craft under control Photo: MCIBFirefighters bring the blaze on board the pleasure craft under control Photo: via MCIB report

Linssen Yachts commented on the MCIB report that it had been producing “this series of yachts since 2005. By now over 500 yachts of this series have been produced, both for private and charter use. Up to now, we have not seen or experienced a similar fire incident on these yachts.”

The MCIB has recommended that the Minister for Transport make regulations “to govern the safe use of recreational craft being used for commercial purposes, which should include mandatory fire detection on vessels used for charter purposes.”

Published in MCIB
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