Inadequate training led to fatal engine room fire on LPG carrier, MAIB report reveals

Photo: MAIB

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has published its accident investigation report into the fatal engine room fire on board the LPG carrier Moritz Schulte while at the Belgian port of Antwerp on August 4, 2020.

On the said date, as cargo offloading operations were underway, a fire broke out in the engine room of the UK-registered Moritz Schulte after the ship’s recently promoted third engineer opened an auxiliary engine’s pressurised fuel filter, allowing marine gas oil to spray onto an adjacent auxiliary engine’s hot exhaust.

The third engineer attempted to stop the fuel leak and tried unsuccessfully to escape from the toxic smoke-filled engine room. He was found an hour later by a shore fire and rescue team but did not recover consciousness and died nine days later in hospital.

The MAIB conducted this investigation on behalf of the Isle of Man Ship Registry in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the MAIB and the Red Ensign Group Category 1 registries of Isle of Man, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and Gibraltar.

Safety issues

  • The fire and the fatality were due to unintended release of fuel onto an ignition source.
  • There were crew training scheme weaknesses that enabled the crewmember to bypass requirements and gain promotion twice when he was not ready.
  • Inadequate crew fire training affected the potential for a successful escape and recovery of a crewmember from a smoke-filled environment.


The MAIB said that, as a result of the actions already taken, no safety recommendations have been made.

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