Marine Accident Brief - Fire on board Vehicle Carrier Honor

National Transportation Safety Board Marine
Accident Brief
Fire on board Vehicle Carrier Honor

About 0300 local time on February 24, 2017, the US-flagged roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) vehicle carrier Honor was en route from Southampton, England to Baltimore, Maryland, when a fire broke out in the upper vehicle deck
The fire was extinguished by the crew using the vessels CO 2fixed firefighting system. One injury was attributed to the firefighting efforts.
The accident resulted in extensive damage amounting to more than $700,000,to the Honors hold as well its cargo of about 5,000 vehicles
No pollution resulted from the accident.

Has anybody here ever sailed on that ship?

No. It was autonomous. Danish built.


Ok THX - Builder: Sumitomo Heavy Industries - Yokosuka Japan buy the way 1996

I may be missing something here but is this not the same vessel?

Its the same vessel, he was just being kinda crunchy after a few beers.

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I knew there had to be something I was missing… leave it to me to ruin a good hassling

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My son sailed on it not long after it was US Flagged but that was long before this incident occurred.


Well done to the crew for getting the fire out quickly. The fire occurred at 0200 but the crew was able to quickly evaluate the situation.

This fire should cause a reevaluation of what is meant by the use of fixed systems as a “last resort”.

While the timing of the fire increased the difficulty the location was favorable for firefighting efforts. It was in what was called the Garage Deck which is the upper most cargo deck. This means that boundary cooling did not require the crew to enter the cargo spaces.

The fixed system (CO2) was used about 30 minutes after discovery, even so the deck above the hold had begun to burn.

Roughly 15 or 20 minutes was used in an direct attack attempt. However the heavy smoke and the fact that the cars are packed together too tightly to allow the crew access made that attempt futile.

The problem with a delay in the use of the fixed system means the fire will spread quickly in the packed holds and heat increases quickly. This fire got hot quickly enough the deck above the cargo caught fire. If the fire had been in one of the lower decks and the fire had spread to a second zone this would have been a big problem.


I fully agree. I have always viewed the ship’s fixed system as just one of several tools to use in case of a fire. In some spaces, particularly cargo holds where access maybe limited, its use may very well be the only way once a fire really gets going.

I should add that there is more that one type of fixed system (besides CO2). When I was involved in the company’s newbuilding program the ships being built had several cargo holds designated for carriage of hazardous cargo. The hatch covers for those holds had fixed sprinkler heads and piping underneath where you could attach a fire hose. I thought that was a really cool idea.


The PCC/PCTC I’ve been on had an elbow on the low pressure CO2 tank that could be swung and bolted to the fire main so that sea water could be pumped into spaces protected by fixed CO2

I worked on a ship that had a shitty retrofit system like that installed at the DOD’s behest in order to be allowed to carry bombs and other hazardous cargo down below.

The sprinkler heads were on the both sides of the container bays, about a meter from the top. IIRC the spacing was one sprinkler head per 20 ft container at roughly the center of the container so in a 40 ft bay it was athwartship stiffener, 10 ft space, sprinkler, 20 ft space, sprinkler, 10 ft space, athwartship stiffener.

That system sucked because the pump was crap, it could only be started from all the way down in the bow thruster compartment, and the sprinkler heads were constantly being broken off during cargo operations.

The system I dealt with only had sprinkler heads and piping mounted underneath the hatch covers. The piping came through the hatch cover skirt with a fire hose fitting. To use it a 2-1/2" fire hose would be run from a station on deck to the hatch cover connection and the hose charged.

A post was split to a new topic: Major fire rips through car carrier docked at Incheon -