Emergency, Feature, Industrial

‘Emergency lighting failed’ in ferry fire

The Wightlink Wight Sky approaching Yarmouth. The Marine Accident Investigation Branch says that the switchboard supplying power to the emergency lighting shut down on the day of the fire.

THE EMERGENCY lighting failed after just 27 minutes into a fire on an Isle of Wight ferry in which an engineer received serious burns to face and hands, investigators have revealed.

The UK government Marine Accident Investigation Branch says that the switchboard supplying power to the emergency lighting and other essential services   shut down following an earlier error on the day of the accident – 12 September 2017 – left it in manual rather than automatic mode.

This meant that critical equipment such as the emergency lighting and the ‘Hi-fog’ water-mist fire suppression system were not working.

At the time of the accident the roll-on-roll-off passenger ferry Wight Sky, operated by Wightlink, was approaching the port of Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight when it suffered a catastrophic failure of one of its main propulsion engines, followed by a fire.

The fire was brought under control in less than two minutes, but the vessel’s engineer, who had been standing near the engine, suffered serious burn injuries to his hands and face.

Although he was discharged from hospital seven days later, he was subsequently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

An examination conducted by the vessel’s engine maker, Volvo Penta UK, concluded that the most probable trigger for the failure was debris in the engine’s oil channels following a rebuild.

The MAIB investigation established that debris could have entered the engine’s oil channels during the three days that the partially assembled engine had been exposed to the elements.

Actions have been taken by the vessel’s owner, Wightlink, and by Volvo Penta UK, to address some of the issues identified in the report.






  • Emergency lighting and the responsibilities of building owners will be the focus of the conference programme at the Escape Zone at the LuxLive 2018 exhibition taking place at ExCeL London on Wednesday 14 November and Thursday 15 November 2018. Entry is completely free if you pre-register HERE.