Investigation underway into a fire aboard a hydrogen gas ship


A fire on board the hydrogen gas ship Suiso Frontier occurred less than one day after it arrived in Hastings, prompting an inquiry.

After the ship was loaded with liquid hydrogen, a flame was seen coming from the exhaust of a gas combustion unit on the ship’s deck.

Hastings is a critical component of Kawasaki Heavy Industries’ $500 million brown coal-to-hydrogen projects, which is partially funded with $50 million each from the state and federal governments.

The Suiso Frontier was designed specifically for the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) pilot project, and its transfer of hydrogen from Hastings to Kobe, Japan on February 25 was heralded as a global first (“Cheers and jeers greet hydrogen ship,” The News 25/1/22).

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has classified the fire aboard the ship as a “severe event” that happened at about 10.45 p.m. on January 25. (ATSB).

The ATSB intends to finish its probe into the fire sometime after June. The combustion unit was “immediately closed [when the flame was observed] and isolated before the staff performed the fire prevention response plan,” according to the first report on the bureau’s website.

“There were no other irregularities observed, and no injuries, damage, or pollution were reported.” The ATSB will interview relevant people and gather additional evidence, including recorded data, as part of the probe, according to the article.

“If a serious safety concern is discovered at any point during the inquiry, the ATSB will alert operators and regulators promptly so that necessary and timely safety action may be taken.” At the completion of the investigation, a final report will be released.”

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