The MCIB report into the fire and loss of the FV Horizon which concludes an unattended charging electrical device may have caused the fire
The Marine Casualty Investigation Board has published their report of the Investigation into the fire and loss of “FV Horizon” off The Old Head of Kinsale, Co. Cork 14 May 2021.
The vessel departed the homeport of Union Hall, Co. Cork at approximately 02.00 hrs local time, on 11 May 2021 for a fishing trip approximately 30 to 50 nautical miles (NM) south and southwest of Union Hall. The Skipper of the vessel intended to return to homeport on or about 18 May 2021.
The crew consisted of:
Skipper/Owner: Irish national and owner of “FV Horizon”. Experienced fisher. Skipper’s 2nd Hand Full Certificate of Competency (CoC) since 2012. Holder of Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) Restricted Operators Certificate (ROC) and had completed the Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) Basic Safety Training course. He had skippered “FV Horizon” since purchasing the vessel in May 2018.
Crewmember A: Irish national. Experienced fisher. Completed BIM Basic Safety Training 2018.
Crewmember B: EU national (Lithuania). Experienced fisher. No records on BIM safety training system.
Crewmember C: EU national (Romania). Experienced fisher. No records on BIM safety training system.
The 17.5-metre Irish-registered boat was fishing approximately 20NM off the Old Head of Kinsale, County Cork, when the Skipper noticed large amounts of smoke coming from the accommodation of the vessel. Despite the crew’s firefighting efforts, the fire took hold and spread. The Skipper broadcast a ‘MAYDAY’ distress call by Very High Frequency (VHF) radio and the crew took to a life raft. The crew were recovered from their life raft by the offshore supply ship “Pathfinder”, but despite efforts to fight the fire by a responding offshore supply ship “Maersk Maker”, the fishing vessel sank at approximately 07.00 hrs, close to the position where it initially caught fire. There was some sea surface oil pollution reported which appears to have dissipated naturally.
The MCIB concluded that the ignition source for the outbreak of the fire onboard the “FV Horizon” is not known with any certainty but it is reasonably deduced that an unattended mobile phone or other similar electronic device in the process of being charged and/or an electronic device battery charger into a 240V AC circuit in the crew accommodation cabin may have been the source of ignition for this fire and was a causative factor for the fire onboard the vessel.
The full report can be read below: