NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


NTSB CITES IMPROPER EQUIPMENT INSTALLATION IN COMMUTER FERRY FIRE IN NEW JERSEY, RECOMMENDS CREW TRAINING

September 17, 2002

Washington, DC - The National Transportation Safety Board determined today that the probable cause of the fire aboard the Seastreak New York, a high-speed passenger vessel, was improper installation of the Centinel System's lube oil hose, which allowed the hose to come in contact with the hot exhaust manifold. Contributing to the cause of the September 28, 2001 accident was the absence of guidelines from the manufacturer on the proper installation of the lube oil hose and the lack of inspection and maintenance procedures.

The Seastreak New York was en route from Highland, New Jersey to New York City, with 198 passengers and six crewmembers. Minutes after departing, a deckhand discovered a small fire in the starboard engineroom and was singed when the fire flashed. Ultimately, the fixed CO2 fire suppression was activated and the fire was extinguished. Using its port engines, the Seastreak proceeded to a nearby Coast Guard Station and the passengers disembarked without further incident. There were no passenger injuries. Damages were estimated at $81,000.

There was confusion among the crew about the need to obtain the master's permission before activating the fire suppression system. At the time of the accident, a master and five deckhands were on board. Currently, there is no regulatory requirement for crews on small passenger vessels to have formal firefighting training.

The vessel had been in service less than six months. A comprehensive preventive maintenance and inspection program had not been instituted by the operator Circle Navigation. The Safety Board believes that an inspection of the hose should have detected the routing and lack of securing.

As a result of the accident, the Safety Board issued the following recommendations:

To Cummings Engine Company, Inc.:

Revise your manufacturing and installation literature for the Centinel System to specify how to safely route and secure the lube oil hose between the oil filter assembly and the control valves on the engine.

To Circle Navigation Company of New York:

Develop and implement a training program in marine firefighting for your crewmembers:

Develop and implement a preventive maintenance and inspection program for systems affecting the safe operations of vessels, including the hull and the mechanical systems.

A summary of this report is available now on the NTSB Web site at <http://www.ntsb.gov>, under "Publications"; the complete report will also be posted at that location in a few weeks. Soon afterwards, printed copies will be available for purchase through the National Technical Information Service.

NTSB Media Contact:
Terry N. Williams
202-314-6100
williat@ntsb.gov

 

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.