Safety investigator calls for new fire resistance requirements for conveyor belts in bulk transport ships. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has investigated the fire on the Iron Chieftain which caught fire whilst self-unloading the mineral dolomite (an inert calcium magnesium carbonate) in Port Kembla, News South Wales, June 2018. A fire starting in a rubber conveyor belt, probably because of friction caused by a bearing failure, spread along the rubber conveyor belts, igniting the external discharge boom, and then heavy fuel oil when nearby tanks cracked. The fire took five days to extinguish and the ship was declared a total loss. ASTB has called to modify International Maritime Organisation standards, to add requirements for fire detection systems and fixed fire extinguishing systems in the self-unloading cargo spaces and fire resistant conveyor belts to prevent fire spread.
“ATSB: Fire on Self-Unloading Bulk Carrier Highlights Inadequate International Fire Safety Standards and Regulations”, 18 May 2021 https://gcaptain.com/atsb-fire-on-self-unloading-bulk-carrier-highlights-inadequate-international-fire-safety-standards-and-regulations/