Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire

Posted by: hikermor

Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/02/19 06:22 PM

https://ktla.com/2019/09/02/crews-rescui...nd-coast-guard/

News about this tragedy has been coming out in bits and pieces this morning. It doesn't look good for those still missing since sleeping quarters below decks on most dive boats can be charitably described as "compact."

I have been at sea on the other Truth Aquatic boats and they have been piloted in an excellent manner. This is a real tragedy.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/02/19 07:50 PM

How terrible! Hopefully there will be more survivors but...
Posted by: Russ

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/03/19 03:24 AM

34 Reported Dead In Ventura County Dive-Boat Fire
Quote:
...five crew members able to disembark...
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/03/19 04:53 AM

Wow, almost the worst case scenario. I wonder how the fire started?
Posted by: bsmith

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/03/19 12:17 PM

very sad. from the bunk layout it appears that they didn't have much of a chance.

bunk layout
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/03/19 12:47 PM

On almost any vessel, you don't want to be below decks when a fire breaks out, or during any other emergency, for that matter.
Posted by: EMPnotImplyNuclear

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/04/19 12:42 AM

Originally Posted By: Phaedrus
Wow, almost the worst case scenario. I wonder how the fire started?


Hmm,
statistics say ,
overheating,
from old cables/electronics
or from engine cooling getting blocked

boatus.com/magazine/ causes of boat fires
Posted by: bsmith

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/04/19 01:08 AM

Originally Posted By: hikermor
On almost any vessel, you don't want to be below decks when a fire breaks out, or during any other emergency, for that matter.

the boat and owner, by way of reference, have apparently always been at the top of their game. no question. if there was an issue, they'd fix it. passed uscg inspections. according to the uscg today they did have smoke detectors on the boat.

but to have only one escape route, for all intents and purposes, for all of those folks?

you know, we read about ferry boat accidents that happen in other countries. i had always wondered how that could happen, and that so many people could die, until i was on one of those ferrys earlier this year. five times. and each time i realized that if an accident or issue were to arise i was dead. so many people, too few exits.

i cannot imagine a more terrifying way to die than those poor folks on the Conception.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/04/19 01:30 AM

Yeah, truly a terrible way to go. Burned alive surrounded by quadrillions of gallons of water.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/04/19 02:29 AM

Since the fire broke out at 3 AM in a vessel anchored for the evening, the engine causes are unlikely. Very preliminary speculation involves the galley in some manner.

It will be difficult to determine since the vessel must be raised from water 60 feet deep. Hopefully clues remain
Posted by: Russ

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/04/19 02:59 AM

Quote:
...Hopefully clues remain...

Forensic science is amazing, but considering how hot the fire was judging by press releases and then the boat sank... Itís hard to speculate cause of the fire without knowing how much of the boat remains intact and available to analyze. Specific cause of the fire may remain unk.
Posted by: bsmith

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/04/19 12:29 PM

Originally Posted By: Russ
Quote:
...Hopefully clues remain...

Forensic science is amazing, but considering how hot the fire was judging by press releases and then the boat sank... Itís hard to speculate cause of the fire without knowing how much of the boat remains intact and available to analyze. Specific cause of the fire may remain unk.

the three-level boat burned to the waterline. and then sank. ending upside down in 60' of water.

the crew were the only eyewitness(es) to the cause of the fire. maybe.

as you say, we may never really know what happened out there.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/04/19 04:16 PM

But an NTSB representative is quoted as being "100% confident" that the cause will be determined.

That should resolve all possible doubts....(maybe)
Posted by: bsmith

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/04/19 04:27 PM

Originally Posted By: hikermor
But an NTSB representative is quoted as being "100% confident" that the cause will be determined.

That should resolve all possible doubts....(maybe)

i'm with you there.

in yesterday's news conference i believe someone said that they had statements from the crew. so maybe they already have an idea.

there's that 'maybe' again.
Posted by: Pete

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/07/19 07:33 PM

Truly a shocking tragedy. I dived on the boats from Truth Aquatics, but it was 25 years ago. Yes, this was an excellent company ... first-class.

I never remember getting a safety briefing about boat operations. We were always very focused on safety during the diving. Maybe things changed.

I would guess the most probable cause was a fire from batteries being re-charged at night. Many divers have elaborate camera gear. They must re-charge the batteries. This is done in the Galley, the probable source of the fire. Its been going on for years. What went wrong this time? I can only speculate that someone (a diver) sat down some type of flammable liquid beside a battey charger, and the worst of all outcomes happened at 3am.

I cant begin to imagine the terror of the divers awakening to heavy smoke and all exits blocked by the fire.

I am still stunned that these boats (and the crew) did not have better equipment and training for fire fighting. There is no mention of any crew member trying to fight the fire with an extinguisher. The investigators will have to look at this. Once the Galley was ablaze, the divers had no hope.

If any good comes from this, it will be that safety on these dive boats must be dramatically increased ... including a 24-hour deck watch, serious fire training for the crew, and the re-positioning of escape hatches so they open onto the deck at the bow. This should be done for all dive boats in the USA. The deficiencies are widespread.

A real tragedy.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/07/19 10:34 PM

Current speculation about the origin of the fire is centered on battery recharging, especially lithium-ion batteries which were most likely present. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to establish the cause of the fire as clearly as possible before advocating changes in procedures, criticism of the crew's training and actions, etc. None of us were there and we have no idea of the situation with which the crew had to deal.

FWIW, current news articles state that the victims probably died in their sleep, overwhelmed by toxic gases and smoke. The remains of one individual are still missing.
Posted by: Pete

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/08/19 12:52 AM

I agree that they died from smoke inhalation. Ventilation below decks was never great. I'm sure they woke up panicked, but smoke inhalation happens very quickly. Any firefighters here? They would have stories.

The point is that the divers would have yelled, screamed for help. They would have pounded their palms on the woodwork. They had very little time to do this, but it would have happened.

Hikermor ... You are quite right ... it's probably not correct for me to rush to judgment. I admit i am biased. Lets wait for the Investigation.

Posted by: hikermor

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/08/19 04:26 PM

https://enewspaper.latimes.com/desktop/l...0c-236bf740270e

Here is a pretty reasonable article about the changes in requirements that might result from this unfortunate event.. Among other things, better regulation of battery chargers and lithium-ion batteries are likely.
Posted by: Pete

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/08/19 06:55 PM

One thing that I think the investigators will want to resolve quickly ... where is the missing body? All the reports I saw said that one diver was unaccounted for. Maybe that body was retrieved from the ocean. It was not present in the wreckage.

A lot of possibilities remain open, until that body is accounted for. And no doubt, friends and family will want to see a resolution.
Posted by: EMPnotImplyNuclear

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/08/19 11:43 PM

Originally Posted By: hikermor
Current speculation about the origin of the fire is centered on battery recharging, especially lithium-ion batteries which were most likely present. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to establish the cause of the fire as clearly as possible before advocating changes in procedures, criticism of the crew's training and actions, etc. None of us were there and we have no idea of the situation with which the crew had to deal.

FWIW, current news articles state that the victims probably died in their sleep, overwhelmed by toxic gases and smoke. The remains of one individual are still missing.


Hi,
Since I heard of the story
I've been wondering if the boat had fire sprinklers
and if the fire alarms were loud enough (and networked)
and just how many seconds the sleepers had to wake up


I've been swimming and freediving all day, and my hearing was not 100% afterwards

Unless my regular house fire alarm is at arms length,
for me its not loud/annoying enough to wake me up within 10 seconds

I did not recognize a fire alarm going off in adjacent apartment

I've slept through a lot of noise
including one time fire truck and firemen responding to fire in adjacent apartment above mine
and I'm told they evacuated building
Posted by: Pete

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/12/19 01:31 AM

Glad to see that they found the 34'th body. That will give families a lot of closure.
Posted by: Pete

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/15/19 02:34 PM

The burned wreck of the Conception has been raised, and is now at the naval base in Port Hueneme. This is what some news sources are saying. The investigation is still a multi-agency probe.

Many things remain unexplained. For example, the NTSB has released a preliminary report saying that all 6 crew members onboard the Conception were asleep at the time the fire started. However, it has also been reported that this conclusion is based on interviews with three of the crew after the accident (incl. The captain). It is not clear why the testimony of 2 crew members is missing. 5 crew members survived, and one died (the 6th was sleeping below decks). It looks like a long and painstaking investigation.
Posted by: Herman30

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/15/19 05:53 PM

Today our news told that a finnish citizen was among the victims. A man who worked or had worked in Silicon Valley.
Posted by: Pete

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/15/19 10:47 PM

Herman 30 ... very sorry to hear that.
Posted by: Pete

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/28/19 06:44 PM

Latest news ... after 2 weeks the Investigators have not found a "smoking gun" (i.e. a root cause of failure) for why the fire started on the boat. They are seeking more scientific analysis and the investigation rolls on.

The possibility exists that it might not be possible to identify the exact cause of the accident with certainty. That seems hardly surprising, considering that the Conception burned down almost to the waterline.

Apparently the Coast Guard is saying that a roving watch should have existed on the boat throughout the night. Testimonies collected from some crew members indicated that the watch did not exist. I am not familiar with maritime law, so I cannot comment.

All signs point to a long investigation.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/28/19 07:30 PM

The night watch requirement is interesting. I would say that a nocturnal watch is not common practice on any vessels I have been aboard here in SoCal (and that includes various Truth Aquatics vessels). We did not follow that practice on NPS vessels.

It would be interesting to learn more about this regulation.
Posted by: Herman30

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/28/19 07:45 PM

A sprinkler system should be mandatory below deck.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/28/19 08:42 PM

Originally Posted By: Herman30
A sprinkler system should be mandatory below deck.


Generally, when at sea, you want to keep water on the exterior of the hull, not the interior.

Some years ago, we experienced a leaking water cooling intake pipe in the engine room. I was roused from a sound sleep by "Everyone Up! Two feet (60 centimeters) of water in the bilge." Great way to start the day...
Posted by: Pete

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/28/19 08:46 PM

Hikermor

I dived for 10-12 years. But it was more than 20 years ago. I did a few overnight trips, but not with Truth Aquatics. Overnight trips were exprnsive. I dont remember any boat having a night watch ... i never saw it in the dive industry. I think the court case and legal action will be very complicated.
Posted by: Herman30

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/29/19 06:54 AM

Originally Posted By: hikermor

Generally, when at sea, you want to keep water on the exterior of the hull, not the interior.

So even when there is a fire onboard you donīt want water on the interior?
Posted by: M_a_x

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/29/19 07:53 AM

The prefered methods would be powder extinguishers or flooding with inert gas (evacuate interior before flooding with inert gas).
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 09/29/19 12:48 PM

The vessel had an automatic fire suppression system in the engine room (where fires generally originate, not sure if it was powder or inert gas) and extinguishers in the galley,the other ignition point for fires aboard a vessel - all up to current Coast Guard standards.
Posted by: Pete

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 10/02/19 01:38 AM

Truth Aquatics suspended all boat operations indefinitely on 1 October.
Posted by: brandtb

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 10/10/19 03:19 AM

Somewhat off topic, but I have taken to packing my own fire/CO2 detector along with me whenever I am staying in a hotel. It takes up little room in a suitcase and can be bought for $25-$35 at any big box home improvement store. It just adds an additional level of safety. Most of those hotel detectors are smoke only, and who knows how well they're maintained?

Reports are that this boat had smoke detectors, but someone placing one in the sleeping area could have made a difference.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 10/10/19 04:03 AM

A sensible precaution, brandtb. I've thought about getting one for home but presently I live in an apt with all electric everything, not much CO2 to worry about except what's in the atmosphere.
Posted by: Pete

Re: Santa Cruz Island Boat Fire - 10/11/19 06:27 PM

It is a very good question ... why didnt the smoke alarms go off in the galley area? Why didnt anyone hear them?

The biggest thing that I have learned ... be very careful with re-charging of Li-ion batteries. It is important to use a proper charger, and not a cheap knockoff. I read the accounts of several people who experienced battery failures in phones (re-charging). It is a violent event. So now i am much more careful where I charge my phone at night.