Marine Accident Report

Fire On Board the Small Passenger Vessel
Port Imperial Manhattan, Hudson River
New York City, New York
November 17, 2000

NTSB Number NTSB/MAR-02/02
NTIS Number PB2002-916402

Executive Summary: On the evening of November 17, 2000, the U.S. small passenger vessel Port Imperial Manhattan, with three crewmembers and eight passengers on board, was en route to Weehawken, New Jersey, from the borough of Manhattan in New York City, New York, when a fire broke out in the engine room. Crewmembers attempted to extinguish the fire with portable extinguishers, with no success. The fire burned out of control, causing the vessel to lose power and forcing the crew and passengers to abandon the interior spaces. The crew and passengers were rescued by another NY Waterway passenger vessel, and the burning vessel was towed to Manhattan, where the New York City Fire Department extinguished the fire. One passenger was treated for smoke inhalation. No deaths resulted from this accident. The estimated cost to repair the vessel was $1.2 million.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the fire aboard the Port Imperial Manhattan was NY Waterway’s inadequate inspection and maintenance of the vessel’s electrical system. Contributing to the extent of the damage were the lack of a fixed fire detection and suppression system and the crewmembers’ lack of knowledge of proper marine firefighting techniques.

Based on its investigation, the Safety Board identified safety issues in the following areas:

As a result of its investigation of this accident, the Safety Board makes recommendations to the U.S. Coast Guard, the Federal Communications Commission, NY Waterway, and the Passenger Vessel Association.