Oil tanker fire ruled ‘accidental’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Members of the National Energy Corporation of TT’s National Energy Resilience Team, right, work to extinguish a fire on board bulk carrier AV Aqua Marine in the Gulf of Paria near the Port of Port of Spain on May 14. – Photo by Roger Jacob

The fire on the AV Aqua Marine, a decommissioned oil tanker anchored in the Port of Spain harbour on Tuesday, has been ruled as “accidental” by the Fire Service.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Andy Hutchinson said while hot works and salvaging were being conducted by six people from Sea Neptunas, sparks and hot metals came into contact with flammable substances onboard the vessel.

The engine compartment of the ship caught fire and thick, heavy black smoke billowed outward, visible from the shoreline.

The Port Authority’s Fire Service, Coast Guard’s Tug Boat Resilience, and Pilot Association were among the agencies involved in emergency response efforts.

In a report from the Fire Service, during the fire a small explosion occurred, sending three 20-gallon steel barrels into the sea.

Despite challenges in detaching a barge attached to the vessel, the fire was extinguished around 11 am on May 14.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Earl Sampson of the northern division said it took approximately three and a half hours to put out the fire.

Nearly 100,000 gallons of seawater was used to extinguish the flames.

No significant oil spills or injuries were reported.

The six workers from the salvaging company were evacuated by the Police Coastal Division unit.

The owner of the vessel has been identified as Jose Marina.