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Analysis of Fires in Shipyards


Throughout the course of history, shipboard fires have led to catastrophic losses in terms of both lives and equipment. Recently, multiple concerns about shipboard fires were raised over a short period of time, resulting in a NAVSEA investigation. US Navy commands and private industry partners were directed to submit self-assessments to NAVSEA Headquarters detailing the results of the evaluation, to include root causes. NAVSEA analyzed the information that was provided from shipyards performing shipbuilding and ship repair operations for the United States Navy. The data set that was provided to NAVSEA was a unique opportunity to evaluate the commonalities between facilities, public and private, which has not been available historically. This presentation examines the causal factors and recommendations to stem the number of industrial fires in public and private shipyards. One notable observation was that many of the root causes identified in the 1944 investigation of the fire onboard the USS Saturn, while in availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, are strikingly similar to those reported today. NAVSEA is interested in leveraging the lessons learned from the respondents and to capitalize on this unique data set with the intention of preventing fires that cost US Taxpayers millions of dollars on fire mishaps, that in many cases are preventable.