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Common causes of fires on commercial vessels

An explosion or fire emerging while out on the sea can be terrifying. You only have so much of your ship you can navigate around. These flames can severely damage the ship and potentially leave passengers stranded until they receive assistance from firefighters or the U.S. Coast Guard.

There are several ways your vessel could combust if you aren’t careful. Commercial fishers and maritime workers should be familiar with how their ships can catch fire quickly to avoid severe burns next to the water.

Flammable atmospheres

According to OSHA, commercial fishing vessels that have high oxygen levels or areas with too many combustible gases or liquids close to an ignition source often suffer fire damage. Larger vessels are especially vulnerable since it can get difficult to keep track of where all the equipment is and if certain areas have higher oxygen or toxic gas levels.

The ships need to receive a full safety inspection before they sail off. Shipyard inspectors and Marine Chemists must evaluate the whole vessel to ensure that there aren’t any misplaced flammable items or toxic areas that could ignite when someone needs to light a match. Given how ships often head into rough waters during the spring months in Louisiana, it is especially crucial that flammable items and substances are far away from each other.


Even if boat workers are careful enough to place all fire hazards away from flammable objects and environments, one crash could be all it takes to set off a hot chain reaction. It varies on where the boat was hit or what the boat ends up colliding into.

Boats that operate around oil barges and rigs are especially vulnerable to flames if they end up crashing. In 2013, a tug boat pushing an oil barge in Lafitte crashed into a gas pipeline and became engulfed in flames for hours. Crew members must keep an eye on nearby vessels to ensure that they don’t risk running into one.

Workers on commercial fishing vessels or other ships in Louisiana should review fire safety guidelines before heading out on the water. Any maritime workers that suffer serious injuries from a fire on their vessel should consider acquiring legal representation to get proper compensation for their injuries.