Marine Accident Brief

Fire Aboard Vehicle Carrier M/V Alliance Norfolk

Mediterranean Sea, about 30 miles northeast of Malta
March 10, 2012

NTSB Number: MAB-13-05
Adopted: May 10, 2013

Accident Summary

On the morning of March 10, 2012, while transiting between Malta and Sicily, Italy, in the Mediterranean Sea, the M/V Alliance Norfolk, a roll on/roll off vehicle carrier, encountered rough weather and heavy seas resulting in damage to its cargo and a subsequent fire on a cargo deck. The fire was extinguished at sea, but 2 days later while in port, the damaged cargo deck was ventilated, and the fire reflashed , causing further damage to the vessel and its cargo.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause of the fire on board the M/V Alliance Norfolk was ignition of flammable material by an undetermined ignition source on deck 5 due to shifting cargo while the vessel was rolling in heavy seas after losing power. Contributing to the severity of the damage was the reflash of the smoldering fire when the vessel was in port.