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Accident Report Detail

​Marine Accident Brief: Fire aboard Fishing Vessel American Eagle

Executive Summary

​About 0710 local time on February 10, 2016, a fire broke out near several oxygen and acetylene cylinders stored below decks on the uninspected commercial fishing vessel American Eagle while it was transiting in the South Pacific Ocean. Crewmembers attempted to fight the fire but were unable to extinguish it. During the firefighting efforts, the vessel began to list. The crew abandoned the American Eagle into its skiffs and liferafts, leaving the vessel adrift without electrical power. Several hours later, after the fire had significantly diminished, a few crewmembers re-boarded the vessel, extinguished the remnants of the fire, and corrected the list using self-powered pumps dropped from a US Coast Guard aircraft. The following day they restarted the vessel’s main engines and generators and transited to Pago Pago, American Samoa. Damage was estimated between $500,000 and $1 million. There were no injuries or environmental damage reported.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the fire on board the commercial fishing vessel American Eagle was the ignition from an undetermined source of acetylene gas mixed with oxygen, most likely leaking from a degraded hose connected to cylinders stored in a working space below decks. Contributing to the severity of the fire were the numerous acetylene and oxygen cylinders improperly stowed near the fire, which provided additional fuel and oxygen to the fire. Contributing to the extent of the damage on board the vessel was the lack of a common language between all crewmembers, which hampered firefighting efforts.

Accident Location:   ,   American Samoa South Pacific Ocean, 06°29.4’ S, 159°58.8’ W
Accident Date: 2/10/2016
Accident ID: DCA16FM025

Date Adopted: 8/31/2017
NTSB Number: MAB1731
NTIS Number:  

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