Health and safety

MAIB warns of dangers of aerosol firefighting systems after fatal accident

13 March 2020

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has issued a safety bulletin warning of the dangers associated with condensed aerosol firefighting systems, after a fatal accident onboard a fishing vessel.

The accident happened on 15 November 2019, as the Resurgam was undergoing routine maintenance in the port of Newlyn in Cornwall.

Apprentice Conor Mosely, 20, died during the installation of a FirePro condensed aerosol fire extinguishing system, which without warning, 'partially and inadvertently discharged, filling the engine room with a dense cloud of aerosol fire suppressing particles.'

Two contractors installing the system managed to evacuate along with the company's engineer.

The accident is still being investigated and the findings will be published by the MAIB. However, the MAIB says that during the inadvertent discharge, it is evident that Mr Mosely inhaled a high concentration of the suppressant particles and this significantly contributed to his death.

The bulletin says that while FirePro's installation and user manual and its product's material safety data sheets had recognized the inadvertent discharge of the system, particularly during installation and maintenance, potential loss of life was not identified as a danger.

MAIB recommended that vessel owners, operators and those contracted to install FirePro and other similar systems should be fully aware of the potential risk to life from exposure to the aerosol particles.

It also suggested these safety precautions:

  • before intentional discharge of a condensed aerosol system, there should be visible and audible alarms to alert personnel. Checks should also be made to ensure the protected compartment has been evacuated before the system is activated
  • when condensed aerosol fire extinguishing systems are being installed or maintained the system should be fully isolated to guard against inadvertent activation, non-essential personnel should be clear of the area and an enclosed space rescue plan should be in place