Passenger vessel Brim declared safe after battery overheating

Battery-powered catamaran passenger vessel Brim (IMO 9862554) has been declared safe after crews used nitrogen to remove explosive gases following what was described as a “thermal event” last week.

The Brim has been docked in Vallø, Norway since last Thursday, March 11th when a fire alarm was triggered and the crew observed smoke. No passengers were on board at the time, but the Brim’s four crew members were evacuated promptly; a safety perimeter was set up amid fears that the vessel could explode.

Temperatures stabilized quickly, but the response crews were unable to board the vessel until March 16th. They then used a hose to pump nitrogen into Brim’s enclosed spaces and bulkheads to remove any explosive gases to a nearby truck.

Battery supplier Corvus Energy said it has now been confirmed that the thermal event did involve Brim’s battery.

The 24-meter MS Brim is a sightseeing vessel built in 2019 and equipped with a Corvus Dolphin Energy storage system (lithium battery). It has two battery rooms with a combined 790kWh of batteries installed.

The local Vestfold fire brigade thanked Corvus for their “invaluable help” in resolving the situation. Corvus said that “the fire brigade and police have handled the situation in a most professional way. Corvus is happy that our procedures and recommendations were followed to the point and that all parties, by working closely together, have prevented a more severe outcome”.

An investigation into the incident is now underway led by Norway’s National Criminal Investigation Service (Kripos), a special agency within the Norwegian Police Service.

Norway-based sightseeing tour company Brim Explorer, which owns the vessel, said that it hoped to have the vessel back operating before June.

In a Facebook post the owner said that “we know that there is great interest in the technology of our hybrid electric ships, and we believe it is important that our experience benefits all industry players. There are many learning points from this event, which we will share pro-actively as soon as we have received more answers,”

2019-built, Norway-flagged, 226 gt Brim is owned and managed by Brim Holdings AS of Tromso, Norway.