Ship fire: Lithium batteries?

https://www.reuters.com/business/container-ship-carrying-vol…

Electric vehicles reportedly involved.

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Electric vehicles reportedly involved.

That should raise insurance rates.

DB2

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Electric vehicles reportedly involved.

www.reuters.com/world/europe/fire-dies-down-ship-carrying-lu…
A fire which swept through a cargo ship carrying thousands of luxury cars and adrift off the coast of Portugal’s Azores islands has lost its intensity, probably because there is little left to burn, a port official said…

Cabeças told Reuters over the weekend lithium-ion batteries in the electric vehicles were “keeping the fire alive”, adding that specialist equipment was required to extinguish it. It was not clear whether the batteries sparked the fire.

DB2

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Questions:

  1. If the ship stays afloat after all flames ebb, are there experts who can determine with certainty the original fire source? (After such prolonged intensity.)

  2. If ship does not stay afloat, how to answer the source question???

News reports / speculations seem to be targeting the lithium battery angle(s).

If the ship stays afloat after all flames ebb, are there experts who can determine with certainty the original fire source?

I am pretty sure the insurance company involved has experts to call on.

News reports/speculations seem to be targeting the lithium battery angle(s).

There are two questions:

  • Did the fire start with the EV batteries?
  • Did the batteries contribute to the blaze once it was underway?

The answer to the second question is almost certainly yes. As for the first question, check back with the insurance investigator.

DB2

I am pretty sure the insurance company involved has experts to call on.

Insurance adjusters
https://www.insureon.com/insurance-glossary/insurance-adjust…

The Captain

If the ship stays afloat after all flames ebb, are there experts who can determine with certainty the original fire source?

I am pretty sure the insurance company involved has experts to call on.

www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/felicity-ace-fire-is-out-why-do…
Fighting a fire with water then means more heavy water sloshing around uncontrolled inside the hull, which can lead to instability if it collects in the wrong part of the ship. By Tuesday, fire crews on hand at the Felicity Ace were not spraying water into the hull but rather onto the outside of the hull to cool it enough so a fire was less likely to melt the steel and cause the ship to sink…

The cargo was self-insured, meaning VW would absorb the loss. That may seem like a lot to you or me, but VW sold nine million cars last year, so 4000 or so represents 0.04%. VW will survive.

DB2

By Tuesday, fire crews on hand at the Felicity Ace were not spraying water into the hull but rather onto the outside of the hull to cool it enough so a fire was less likely to melt the steel and cause the ship to sink…

https://premium.goauto.com.au/ev-fires-become-hot-issue/
One possible solution would be to cover each EV with a special fire-proof blanket at the time an EV is being loaded and tied down to the car deck…Some car carriers and ferry operators have already begun equipping their vessels with these blankets.

The blankets are made from similar material to that used on space vehicles to protect them from the intense heat generated on re-entry into earth’s atmosphere…

These blankets not only starve the fire of oxygen but they prevent reignition of the battery. This solution would add serious cost to the loading and unloading of cars but it might prove to be the only solution at this point…

DB2

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Tuesday, fire crews on hand at the Felicity Ace were not spraying water into the hull but rather onto the outside of the hull to cool it enough so a fire was less likely to melt the steel and cause the ship to sink…

In Venezuela firefighters tried to extinguish an oil storage tank fire with water. The resulting explosion killed over 160 firefighters, first responders, police, and reporters who got too close. 1982.

Tragedia de Tacoa
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedia_de_Tacoa

Proper response? Let burn while cooling the nearby tanks.

The Captain

By Tuesday, fire crews on hand at the Felicity Ace were not spraying water into the hull but rather onto the outside of the hull to cool it enough so a fire was less likely to melt the steel and cause the ship to sink…

We had a somewhat similar issue with our burning Chemical tanker long ago. The heat from the engine room fire burned off the fuel pipe to the big diesel engine at the bulkhead, diesel fuel continued to spray into the engine room feeding the fire. The hull by the engine room turned white hot. I’ll skip my experience of trying to keep from being sauteed while being hoisted onto the tanker to try to prevent the over enthusiastic Filipino crewmen from being crushed while trying to reach up and grab the 600 pound pump that I was trying to hoist onto deck.

Anymouse <fried boots anyone?>

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These blankets not only starve the fire of oxygen but they prevent reignition of the battery. This solution would add serious cost to the loading and unloading of cars but it might prove to be the only solution at this point…

DB2

OR?

Until the lithium battery technology dragon is tamed, stop all production of the beast until it is?

For the future, I can see insurance companies making blanket exclusionary statements, that if a single vehicle with a lithium battery is in a ship’s cargo, the entire policy is null and void.

Ship operators would be obliged to decline carrying any such offending vehicle.