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Fire on safari boat Suzana in Egypt (Red Sea Aggressor)

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by Miyaru, Nov 1, 2019.

  1. KevinNM

    KevinNM DIR Practitioner

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    I’d expect CO2 if the engine room is unmanned. It’s much cheaper the FM200 etc. But might be something else.
     
  2. gddiver

    gddiver Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Puget Sound
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    I signed up on ScubaBoard about a week ago just to comment on this tragedy. I struggled with just what to say and by the time I figured it out most of it has already been said. Anthias conveyed most of my thoughts quite well. Also, speculation about causes and blame cannot, at this point, do more than just hurt those already in pain. With that being said there are a couple of things I would like to comment on. I was part of a group of eight that was on the Red Sea Aggressor 1 three weeks before the fire.

    The crew definitely was aware of the Conception fire. One of the first things one of our members asked about was escape routes and the crew mentioned that everybody now wanted this information because of the fire on the Conception. All of our group, except me, then proceeded to try out the escape hatch and mentioned that they had to work to get the hatch open because it was partially blocked by a mattress.

    We asked about a fire watch and were assured that there was alway at least one person patrolling the boat. This was confirmed by one of our members who has problems sleeping and therefore roamed the boat at all hours. The patrol was roving so at any given time they might be anywhere on the vessel. All crew members except the cooks and dive crew rotated this responsibility.

    We were at St. Johns when a member of our group became ill and a decision was made to evacuate him. When he was taken ashore a crew member accompanied him. He could not be treated in the town that he landed and had to be transported to Marsa Alam by ambulance. The crew member was not allowed to accompany him in the ambulance but an Aggressor representative met him in Marsa Alam and stayed with him throughout his treatment. We were kept informed throughout the process and could not have asked for more support from the crew.

    The camera table was, as several have remembered, outside on the dive deck. However, although the website states that American style plugs can be used, it turned out the the ones on the dive deck would accept only the European style. Because of this there was the usual daisy chain inside the salon. Since the fire appeared to have started inside the boat, probably in the salon area (Anthias, #425) I thought it might have been caused by the coffee pot that was in that area. However, one of our members is an inspector of such things and says that he noticed the way the appliance were wired and considered it highly unlikely.

    Several posters have commented on the lack of maintenance on the boat. I am far from a live aboard expert, having been on only eight different boats so far, but it seemed to me to be well maintained. You can see from the schedule on the Aggressor site that both Red Sea Aggressors are out of service in January and February and I read somewhere that all the Red Sea boats are out because of the weather. The website says they are in dry dock so there is certainly the opportunity to do major maintenance at this time. One might consider that by the end of November the boats have been in constant use since the end of February and might have deferred maintenance issues. However, things like a flush button that had to be pressed twice as in one of the heads while we were on board, are hardly serious safety matters and could expect to be fixed while the boat was out of service.

    The fire was a disaster. For the friends and family of the diver who lost her life I can offer only my condolences, as hollow as that sounds. The other passengers are traumatized and understandably are angry and looking for answers that may not be forthcoming. We should also remember that this was a disaster for the crew. Even if one or more of them is culpable, which is not yet clear, all of them suffer from the loss of their livelihood and have the threat of criminal prosecution hanging over them. Without diminishing the trauma of the survivors and the family and friends of the deceased I feel for them also.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I led the group and received a free trip. I cannot remember the last time I worked so hard for something that was free.

    As an aside and a funny coincidence, on the last night of our trip, on our way home we were awakened by a horrible screeching siren at 3:00 AM. It took a few minutes to realize that a fire alarm was going off but eventually it sank in. First I touched the door to our room, it was cool, and then went and looked out on our balcony, the way was clear and there was no indication of smoke or fire. We calmly but quickly got dressed and went down the stairs only to find out that another guest had been stir frying at 3:00 AM and set off the smoke alarm. When we got back to our room I realized that we had done one thing right. Before we went to bed we had put our passports, medications and a dive light in a backpack that I was able to grab and carry with us. At least we realized that, whenever we are not at home, a go bag is a good idea.
     
  3. InTheDrink

    InTheDrink DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: UK, South Coast
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    I done some work refurbishing a liveaboard.

    Wasn’t perfect. But that was not coz of crew or workers.

    There are some big management
    egos out there. They’re in my very limited view are the problem.

    Bear in mind tho that statistically you’re way more likely to get killed from the airport.

    It doesn’t mean more should be done and on many boats it is.
     
  4. nippurmagnum

    nippurmagnum Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Washington DC metro
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    Thank your for your insights and thoughtful comments.

    I am increasingly convinced (from both personal experience on other liveaboards, and from other comments on this thread) that there is a tendency in Red Sea liveaboards for the crew to put bunks/mattresses on the crew side of the escape hatch. The incredible thing from what you are recounting is that, judging from survivor accounts from the recent tragedy on the Aggressor 1, the mattresses that were blocking the hatch on your trip were placed right back against the hatch just a few weeks later.
     
    chillyinCanada and Jay like this.
  5. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
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    Yes, unbelievable.
    I have cancelled my full-boat charter of a Red Sea Aggressor trip in 2020, and a related Nile Queen Aggressor trip. Moving to Explorer Ventures line in 2021.
     
  6. BRT

    BRT Giant Squid

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    Filled with carbon tetracloride.
     
  7. donhealy

    donhealy Barracuda

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    Location: San Diego
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    I was on BAIII last week. No unattended charging at anytime below deck, The consequences were significant if you did. No charging on the dive deck from 10:00pm to 6:00am. (The table was de-energized by the crew) Everyone was quite sensitive to the recent loss of Conception and we all went through extensive safety and fire procedures. I have been on Conception multiple times and am still processing the loss. So, the entire crew and passengers got an extra dose of my OCD regarding fire safety.
     
    Ucarkus likes this.
  8. Jay

    Jay Need to dive more!

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Melbourne, OZ.
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    Thanks @gddiver for sharing.

    It's astonishing that the mattress blocking the fire exit was still a problem weeks after it was noticed as an issue.

    This tragedy could have easily been a repeat of the Conception tragedy in terms of the number of lives lost if that crew member wasn't woken quickly.

    It's probably a reasonable assumption that the mattress issue was also raised by other clients on earlier trips too ... there must have been others asking about and looking at emergency escapes and possibly practising climbing through.

    This really makes my blood boil. Some aspects of the survivor's post are already troubling to me, but this mattress issue it just too astonishing.

    It's an astonishing failure of the LOB boat owner, manager, Captain and CD (i.e. relevant hierarchy) to adhere to basic fire safety standards.

    That responsibility IMO also extends to Aggressor's CEO and management to ensure basic safety. There's simple things they can do.

    IMO, it's such an issue, that I'll NEVER be giving any of the above people / entities a single $ of my future dives.

    ----------

    Here's the relevant quotes:

    Three weeks prior to the fire on RSA1:
    From a survivor: "When he tried to open the emergency exit, he succeeded only a few inches. Something blocked the hatch. He pushed harder, shook, .... after some time he managed to open the hatch and noticed the cause: On the back was a mattress and on it a sleeping crew member. It was - as far as we know - the first crew member to get awake." source: Egypt: Red Sea Aggressor 1 burning - Diveinside News
     
    eleniel, RayfromTX and tursiops like this.
  9. cephalopod2

    cephalopod2 Barracuda

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    @donhealy good to hear there were some teeth behind this rule. What were the consequences?
     
  10. Ayisha

    Ayisha DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Toronto, Canada
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    I was on the Belize Aggressor III in April and there was no unattended charging allowed below deck. We were allowed to charge only cell phones in the cabin while we were in it. They said if the steward (who went in twice per day) found anything plugged in while we were not in there, it would be unplugged, and if it happened again, we would have a conversation.

    Everything else charged at anytime at the charging station on the dive deck, including overnight. I went and unplugged my dive light, computer and/or camera in the middle of the night several times. There was always power available, and there was no intention to cut power overnight... yet.

    This was the first liveaboard that I had seen a dedicated charging table or any rules about charging. In other liveaboards that I went on, we all charged everything in our cabins, including below deck.

    For that matter, this was the first time I saw a roving night watchperson on a liveaboard. I am a night owl and saw him each day from when he woke up around dinner time until I went to bed often between 1 and 3 AM. My roommate was an early riser and had coffee with him every morning around 4:00 to 5 AM. Between us and our LDS group of 18, we saw him making his rounds through the night all week.

    So it looks like between April and November on the BAIII, the charging station is being de-powered overnight, and there may be "significant consequences" for unattended charging?
     

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