Responsible person: Fires on board vessels

Control Measure Knowledge

The master is ultimately responsible for the vessel and all its crew, passengers, cargo, etc. However, in their absence this responsibility can be devolved to a nominated representative. Where possible the incident commander should make contact with the vessel’s master on arrival at the incident.

Where there is no obvious responsible person, master or owner, the incident commander must implement operational procedures to save life, protect property and reduce any impact on the environment.

Other relevant stakeholders for liaison may include:

  • Category 1 and 2 responders
  • Port authorities
  • Harbour masters
  • Salvors
  • Insurance companies
  • Owners
  • Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention

The incident commander should obtain details of the shipboard fire control plans, as required by Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations, the incident, the vessel, its cargo and any firefighting measures already implemented, which will include information on the:

  • Current firefighting operations being undertaken
  • Evacuation, invacuation or disembarkation of passengers and/or crew
  • Sections of the vessel enclosed by fire-resisting bulkheads
  • Fire detection systems activated
  • Status of on-board fire suppression fixed installations
  • Availability of fixed and portable fire appliances and firefighting equipment
  • Means of access to the various decks and compartments
  • Status of ventilation system, including particulars of the master fan controls
  • Status of compartment doors and watertight hatches
  • Position of dampers
  • The location of the international ship-to-shore connection
  • Available closed circuit television (CCTV) coverage

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions