On September 28, 2001, the domestic high-speed vessel Seastreak New York was en route from Highlands, New Jersey, to New York, New York, with 198 passengers and 6 crewmembers on board. As the vessel passed Sandy Hook Point, New Jersey, about 0630, a fire broke out on the No. 3 engine in the starboard engineroom. Flames forced the deckhand who discovered the fire to flee the engineroom. Access hatches, ventilation, and fuel for the main engines in the starboard engineroom were secured. The fixed CO2 fire suppression system was then activated. The Seastreak New York proceeded to a nearby Coast Guard Station, using its port engines, and disembarked its passengers without incident. Local firefighters arrived on board at 0700. By 0730, a firefighter entered the engineroom and found that the fire had been extinguished by the CO2 suppression system. There were no personal injuries as a result of this fire, but the resultant damages were estimated at $81,000.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the fire on board the Seastreak New York was the improper installation of the Centinel System's lube oil hose, which allowed the hose to come in contact with the hot exhaust manifold. Contributing to the cause of the fire was the absence of detailed guidance from the manufacturer of the Centinel System on the proper installation of the system. Also contributing to the cause of the fire was the lack of inspection and maintenance procedures by Circle Navigation Company that might have discovered the improper installation.
The major safety issues discussed in this report are the adequacy of the following:
- Manufacturer's instructions for the installation of engine accessories;
- Crew firefighting response;
- Company maintenance and inspection procedures; and
- Passenger management.
As a result of its investigation of this accident, the Safety Board makes recommendations to Cummins Engine Company, Inc., and Circle Navigation Company of New York.
To Cummins Engine Company, Inc.:
Revise your manufacturing and installation literature for the Centinel System to specify how to safely route and secure the lube oil hose between the oil filter assembly and the control valves on the engines. (M-02-22)
To Circle Navigation Company of New York:
Develop and implement a training program in marine firefighting for your crewmembers. (M-02-23)
Develop and implement a preventive maintenance and inspection program for systems affecting the safe operation of your vessels, including the hull and the mechanical and electrical systems. (M-02-24)