Bulletin No.: 03/1997

Date (Y-M-D): 1997-04-16

Subject: Fire Caused by Heat Radiation from Cargo Hold Light

This Bulletin draws attention to the hazards that exist when cargo hold lights are left switched on with cargo stowed in the hold.

An incident occurred recently on a bulk carrier, where a package of wrapped lumber stowed in a hold was ignited by the heat of a cargo light left on over night between loading shifts.

The cargo light was set into a recess allowing cargo to be stowed up tight against the bulkhead The guard to lens clearance was approximately two inches. The package of lumber was stowed up against the bulkhead and completely covered the face of the light. The package wrapping melted away from the source of the heat at the end of the lumber and rough ends of the dried lumber ignited. The smoke was seen by a passing crewmember and remedial action taken. If the smoke had not been detected or the hatches closed, serious consequences could have resulted.

Lighting circuit in holds should ideally be provided with an isolating switch and circuit indicator outside the space which should be accessible only to authorized personnel and provisions should be made for the complete isolation and locking in the "off" position of the means of control of every such circuit.[see TP127 Ship Electrical Standards]

Mariners and shipoperators are therefor advised to ensure that all lights in cargo holds, are switched off after use and where necessary isolated from the mains by locking in the "off" position or removal of electrical fuses where possible. (This may apply similarly in stores, lockers, etc. as the case may be)

These precautions should be carried out for any cargoes that contain combustible materials, such as Timber, Grains, Grain Pellets/ Meals, Coal, General Cargo, etc. where there is a risk that the cargo may cover the light so that the heat from the light cannot be dissipated sufficiently.

Keywords:                                  Questions concerning this bulletin should be addressed to:

1. Fire
2. Cargo Hold Light
3. Heat
J. Zwaan
Transport Canada
Marine Safety
Tower C, Place de Ville
11th Floor, 330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8

To add or change your address, contact us at: marinesafety@tc.gc.ca

Owners of commercial vessels, registered and licensed, automatically receive Bulletins.