Fire breaks out in ship's engine room

The Nor Da Vinci seen from the wheelhouse of Tynemouth RNLI Severn class all-weather lifeboat Spirit of Northumberland. Picture by Michael Brown/RNLI
The Nor Da Vinci seen from the wheelhouse of Tynemouth RNLI Severn class all-weather lifeboat Spirit of Northumberland. Picture by Michael Brown/RNLI

A ship put out a Mayday call today when fire broke out in its engine room.

The skipper of the 8,70- tonne offshore dive support vessel Nor Da Vinci ,with 23 crew on board, made the call for help at 1.16pm when the ship was five nautical miles east of the Tyne piers after leaving Blyth harbour.

Tynemouth RNLI's all-weather lifeboat was launched and the windfarm support boat Iceni Spirit also responded to the Mayday and sped to the scene.

Arriving at the Nor Da Vinci just eight minutes after launching, the lifeboat crew made contact with the ship whose crew assured them that they were all safe and no-one was in immediate danger.

UK Coastguard was in constant contact with the ship while it coordinated the rescue operation and after a few minutes it was confirmed that, although there had been a fire, any flames had gone out, leaving smoke coming from smouldering pipe lagging.

The Iceni Spirit was stood down by the Coastguard and thanked for its response while the RNLI lifeboat continued to stand by as a precaution in case the situation worsened.

After an hour, the ship confirmed that the fire was out but that it was going to anchor and shut down all systems to make a full investigation.

At 4.10pm, the Nor Da Vinci reported to UK Coastguard that the problem that caused the fire had been located and all was safe. The crew also confirmed that the ship has seven engines and although two had been isolated as a result of the fire, they were able to get under way.

The lifeboat was then stood down and returned to station while the ship made further repairs at anchor.

Tynemouth RNLI spokesman Adrian Don said: "Our volunteer crew members responded to the alert as fast as possible, not knowing how bad the situation was.

"This could have been a major incident with the crew of the Nor Da Vinci potentially having to abandon ship but thankfully they brought the fire under control quickly with no harm coming to anyone.

"The lifeboat stood by in case the fire restarted or any of the ship's crew were injured during the firefighting and investigations of the cause."