Fire on cargo ship probably caused by arcing

An electric arc from a severed extension cable was the probable cause of a fire on bulk carrier Almirante Storni (IMO 9497452) on December 4th 2021, a Swedish State Accident Commission has concluded.

The fire started in the timber cargo when the vessel was off Gothenburg. Only after the arrival in the Port of Gothenburg on December 11th 2021 could the fire finally be extinguished.

The National Accident Commission (SHK) released its report on the fire on January 18th. The conclusions were based on a fire scene investigation carried out during the unloading in Skandiahamnen. During the investigation a severed extension cable was found which was likely the remains of a cable that was used for lighting when the ship loaded in Orrskär. When the ship departed, the extension cable was cut off and left.

The SHK assessed that the probable cause of the fire was that an arc in the extension cable ignited the timber load. The way in which the timber packages were loaded also meant that the fire could quickly increase in intensity and spread.

The report found that the handling of the ship fire was carried out largely in an efficient way, given the prevailing conditions. No people were injured and no hazardous substances were released. However, there was damage to the ship as a result of the extinguishing.

2012-built, Liberia-flagged, 19,994 gt Almirante Storni is owned by Pucon Schifffahrtsgesellschaft care of manager NSC Schifffahrtsgesellschaft of Hamburg, Germany. ISM manager is NSC Shipping GmbH of Hamburg, Germany. It is entered with North of England Club on behalf of MS “PUCON” Schifffahrtsgesellschaft mbH & Co KG.

It is now listed as the GMB Eternity on Marine Traffic and on January 22nd 2023 was heading for Richards Bay, South Africa, ETA January 24th. The ownership, management and insurance is the same as in December 2021 (IMN, December 7th 2021 and following days).