1991 - KORSNAS LI NK

Year 1991
Vessel KORSNAS LI NK
Location Off the English coast, 10 n.m. east of Tees
Cargo type In Bags
Chemicals SODIUM CHLORATE

Summary

The Swedish ro-ro ferry Stora Korsnäs Link I was on a voyage from Sweden to Hartlepool in England when a fire started in the machine room. Attempts were made to extinguish the fire by filling the machine room with CO2, but the attempts failed and the crew was forced to shut down the engines. The ship's crew alerted the authorities of the nearest port Teeside and requested help. Rescue vessels were sent to the scene and rescue personnel boarded the ship. Two tugs from a local salvage company arrived and towed the vessel further out to sea. The fire had now spread to the upper deck and the rescue personnel were unable to settle the fire. Eight hours later, the salvage company had contacted the owner of the cargo and found out that the ship did not only carry different forest products but also potentially explosive chemicals. On the lower deck 40 tonnes of sodium chlorate was stowed within two containers in 40 one-tonne bags. Sodium chlorate (Class 5) is a solid powerful oxidiser that decomposes by heat to free oxygen and may cause fire and explosion in contact with combustibles. When this was found out the ship was quickly abandoned. A one-mile exclusion zone was established and the salvage tugs left the scene. After sometime they decided however to make a new attempt to save the cargo and a vessel with fire fighting equipment was sent to the scene. They started to pump water onto the exterior of the ship in order to achieve control of the fire. The attempt was unsuccessful and the fire spread to the other cargo decks during the following days. On November 8, an explosion occurred close to the containers with sodium chlorate and it blew out the side of the ship causing the ship to roll over and capsize. After a few hours the ship sank at a depth of 40 metres. The explosion caused no injuries but blew out two windows on the fire fighting vessel.

Narrative

The Swedish ro-ro ferry Stora Korsnäs Link I was on a voyage from Sweden to Hartlepool in England when a fire started in the machine room. Attempts were made to extinguish the fire by filling the machine room with CO2, but the attempts failed and the crew was forced to shut down the engines. The ship's crew alerted the authorities of the nearest port Teeside and requested help. Rescue vessels were sent to the scene and rescue personnel boarded the ship. Two tugs from a local salvage company arrived and towed the vessel further out to sea. The fire had now spread to the upper deck and the rescue personnel were unable to settle the fire. Eight hours later, the salvage company had contacted the owner of the cargo and found out that the ship did not only carry different forest products but also potentially explosive chemicals. On the lower deck 40 tonnes of sodium chlorate was stowed within two containers in 40 one-tonne bags. Sodium chlorate (Class 5) is a solid powerful oxidiser that decomposes by heat to free oxygen and may cause fire and explosion in contact with combustibles. When this was found out the ship was quickly abandoned. A one-mile exclusion zone was established and the salvage tugs left the scene. After sometime they decided however to make a new attempt to save the cargo and a vessel with fire fighting equipment was sent to the scene. They started to pump water onto the exterior of the ship in order to achieve control of the fire. The attempt was unsuccessful and the fire spread to the other cargo decks during the following days. On November 8, an explosion occurred close to the containers with sodium chlorate and it blew out the side of the ship causing the ship to roll over and capsize. After a few hours the ship sank at a depth of 40 metres. The explosion caused no injuries but blew out two windows on the fire fighting vessel.

Resume

Unsuccessful attempts were made to achieve control of the fire by using the fixed CO2 system in the engine room and water onto the exterior of the ship. The cargo manifest did not have the proper information and this led to a very dangerous situation as the rescue personnel boarded the vessel and tried to fight the fire unaware of the explosion risk. The second attempt to settle the fire was very risky and it was fortunate that no one got injured.
Ship was abandoned when it was found out that she was carrying potentially explosive chemicals.
A one-mile exclusion zone was established

last modified 2021-09-03T07:36:28+00:00