Master Dylan grounded on a sandbar after being towed by the Master Dustin II. This image was taken from the Coast Guard small boat. Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard?

NTSB Reports Probable Cause of Engine Room Fire Aboard Fishing Vessel ‘Master Dylan’

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October 6, 2021

Failure of a diesel generator caused an engine room fire aboard a commercial fishing vessel in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

No injuries were reported in connection with the December 1, 2020, fire aboard the 85-foot-long commercial fishing vessel Master Dylan, but the incident resulted in the total loss of the $300,000 vessel.

?The NTSB released details of its investigation in Marine Accident Brief 21/19? released Tuesday. The NTSB says the crew of the vessel were trawling for shrimp when they reported hearing a “loud explosion” in the engine room, after which they saw fire and black smoke. The captain attempted to extinguish the fire, but was unsuccessful. A nearby fishing vessel rescued the crew from the burning vessel. An offshore supply vessel eventually extinguished the fire using water cannons. Master Dustin II, a vessel owned by the same company, proceeded to tow the Master Dylan to the nearest point of land. The Master Dylan ran aground during the tow and the fire re-flashed. The fire did not extinguish and eventually the Master Dylan rolled onto its starboard side and sank. 

The NTSB determined the probable cause of the engine room fire was the catastrophic failure of a diesel generator. Contributing to the spread of the fire was the location of the fuel shutoff valves within the engine room, which prevented the crew from securing them. 

?“Following the initiation of an engine room fire, it is imperative to remove the source of available fuel to the fire found in the fuel oil and lube oil systems,” the report said. “Vessel designers, builders, owners, and operators are encouraged to install, regularly test, and have emergency drills that incorporate remote cut-off valves for fuel and lube oil lines.”

Improving fishing vessel safety remains a priority for NTSB and it is an issue on the NTSB’s 2021-2022 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements.

On October 14, the NTSB will host a virtual roundtable on improving fishing vessel safety featuring government officials, industry leaders, fishing vessel operators, safety experts and survivors of fishing vessel accidents to discuss what can be done to address commercial fishing safety concerns and implement NTSB safety recommendations and improve the safety of fishing operations in the U.S. You can register to attend the roundtable here.

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