Marine Accident Brief

Engine Room Fire On Board Towing Vessel Patrice McAllister

Lake Ontario
4 miles southeast of Point Petre
near Prince Edward Point, Ontario, Canada
March 27, 2012

NTSB Number: MAB-13-10
Adopted: June 6, 2013

Accident Summary

On March 27, 2012, at 0229 eastern daylight time, the uninspected towing vessel (UTV) Patrice McAllister, with six crewmembers onboard, experienced an engine room fire. At the time, the vessel was transiting east on Lake Ontario en route from Toledo, Ohio, to Staten Island, New York. The crew released CO2 from the vessel's fire suppression system into the engine room and extinguished the fire; however, the fire later reflashed and burned out of control. The vessel's chief engineer was fatally injured, and the five remaining crewmembers suffered minor injuries.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the engine room fire on board the Patrice McAllister was the ignition of lubricating oil that sprayed from a fatigue-fractured fitting on the portside main engine's pre-lubrication oil pump onto the hot surface of the portside main engine's exhaust manifold. Contributing to the extent of the fire damage was the crewmembers' compromise of the fire boundaries when they prematurely began de-smoking the vessel's superstructure; the inability to completely secure the engine room's fire boundaries; and the abundance of flammable material throughout the vessel.