B3/2008M M/S LEMO, fire in the galley of the vessel off Kotka on 22.11.2008

The M/S LEMO, sailing under the flag of St Vincent and Grenadines, was arriving in the Kotka Mussalo harbour on the morning of 22.11.2008 from Poland with a cargo of lime. When the vessel was less than three nautical miles from its berthing place, a fire alarm was given due to a fire in the galley at about 05:10.

Shortly after the discovery of the fire the pilot informed the VTS centre about the fire and they passed the information on, and thus at about 05:11 the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC) in Helsinki knew about the fire. The ship’s crew had been woken up before the fire alarm to prepare the ship for berthing in the harbour so it was possible to send an investigation team immediately to check on the location of the fire. Once it was confirmed that is was in the galley, a group began initial fire fighting using hand extinguishers through a broken window of the galley, and it was decided to anchor the ship because of the amount of smoke that was being produced. Once they had received the information, MRSC had asked to send a pump crew from Kotka to the ship to extinguish the fire.

The pump crew from the Kotka fire and rescue service was transported to the vessel in a coastguard patrol vessel and it they were at the scene of the fire at about 05:58. In less than an hour after this the fire on the vessel was under control and damping down operations and clearing up of the burned areas was begun. A three-man pump crew who had arrived from Helsinki by helicopter at about 06:55 also took part in this work.

About half and hour before the pump crew from Helsinki arrived, at about 06:20, the tug JANET from Kotka had been attached to the side of the M/S LEMO, and the pump crew from the Kotka fire and rescue service used its fire pump when extinguishing the fire in the galley. This powerful pump made sure there was sufficient working pressure in the fire hose.

At 07:12 the fire was extinguished and ventilation of the smoke had started. After this the vessel was towed to the Mussalo harbour quayside.

Serious personal injury was avoided. Only the chief engineer of the vessel had inhaled smoke when leaving his cabin after the fire had started. The cabin was located above the galley. He was taken to Kotka Central Hospital for examination.

B3/2008M Report (pdf, 1.68 Mt)

Published 22.11.2008