According to the coroner, basic steps could have been taken to prevent the fire that broke out on the Australian Navy patrol boat HMAS Westralian.
On 5 May 1998, a flexible fuel hose burst in the engine room of the Australian Navy’s replenishment oiler HMAS Westralia. The fuel ignited when it came into contact with hot machinery, and the first-response extinguishers were unable to cope with the fire’s intensity. It took two hours for the fire to be brought under control, and in that time four sailors died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
The coroner found that those lives could have been saved if a system had been in place to shut off the flow of fuel by closing the valve from a safe place.
We were engaged by the Navy to provide a simple, reliable and effective remote valve operating system for the Westralian, and we continue to supply this and other control systems to Naval vessels, helping make sure tragedies like these never happen again.