Circulars
  • Date: 10/14/2019
  • Series: SM
  • Number: SM 3 - 2019

Battery fire with subsequent gas explosion

On the evening of Thursday 10 October, there was a small fire in the battery room on board the passenger ferry Ytterøyningen. Firefighting commenced and the ferry reached port under her own engine power. Passengers and crew were evacuated on land. In the morning of Friday 11 October, there was an explosion below deck, in or adjacent to the battery room.

On the evening of Thursday 10 October, there was a small fire in the battery room on board the passenger ferry Ytterøyningen. Firefighting commenced and the ferry reached port under her own engine power. Passengers and crew were evacuated on land.

In the morning of Friday 11 October, there was an explosion below deck, in or adjacent to the battery room.

The Norwegian Maritime Authority recommends that all shipowners with vessels that have battery installations, carry out a new risk assessment of the dangers related to possible accumulations of explosive gases during unwanted incidents in the battery systems.   

In addition, we refer to «Important Communique regarding Ytterøyningen Battery Fire», containing recommendations from the battery supplier “Corvus Energy”.

It is extremely important that vessels are not operating without communication between the EMX (Energy management system) and the battery packs, as this may result in a breach in the transfer of important system data to the EMS/bridge.

The sequence of events has not yet been established. The Safety Message will be updated when additional facts, information and causal connections are available.

Clarification 18 October

The Norwegian Maritime Authority wants to clarify the following items related to the safety message issued on 14 October 2019:

  • All shipowners using a battery system should carry out a risk assessment based on the recommendations of the updated safety message.
  • The risk assessment should cover the following:
    • the assessment should identify potential emergency shipboard situations, e.g. fire, flooding, collision, etc.;
    • subsequently, the shipowner should establish procedures to respond to these events and establish programmes for drills and exercises to prepare for emergency situations.

This is in line with the requirements of the ISM code and is the shipowner’s responsibility.

The incident with the Ytterøyningen is still under investigation, and the cause has not been identified yet. There is nothing that indicates any issues regarding the above-mentioned risk assessment of this specific incident.

Back to top