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Old 11-12-2010, 03:41 AM   #1
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After the 155-boat Baja Ha-Ha fleet's recent visit to the tiny Baja fishing village called Bahia de Tortugas, the vast anchorage there returned to its normally sleepy state. But its tranquility was dramatically interrupted last weekend when the Belgium-flagged Privilege 495 catamaran Ker-Tidou exploded shortly after sunrise.

story here
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Old 11-12-2010, 06:57 AM   #2
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Brenda,

Boy, that fire did not take long to destroy the cat.

Puzzled :- Propane sinks: the fire LOOKS like it started in the Bridge Deck before working its way down to the hulls.

"The lone French sailor aboard, managed to escape the inferno without major injuries, traveling in his dinghy to a nearby vessel. Apparently all he had time to take with him was a backpack."

No-one would think that someone could get off that boat with a backpack, untie the dinghy and get it and himself to a nearby vessel.

Richard
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Old 11-12-2010, 08:42 AM   #3
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Yeah, Richard, it looks fishy to me, too. I've seen a few boat fires like this in St. Martin, and what I remember most vividly was the crew diving over the side of the boat into the water.

If the boat had the galley up, a propane leak could have had the gas collecting under the forward deck. It's speculation, though, isn't it?
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanneP View Post

If the boat had the galley up, a propane leak could have had the gas collecting under the forward deck. It's speculation, though, isn't it?
True, speculation !!

But, if the galley was up, then the gas would naturally flow down from the bridge deck into one or both hulls. In my cat I have galley up - however my gas tanks are in outside self draining Lazarettes under cockpit seats, if the gas leaks from the tanks it flows out through a hole in the lowest point into the air above the water. A fire in the galley would probably be the result of cooking oil catching fire. In that case my alarms would alert.

Whatever, when Propane or LPG ignites uncontrollably in a boat it is often catastrophic. Whereas, in South East Asia gas is used without any thought of its potential danger by countless millions of people.
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Old 11-12-2010, 02:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMNETSEA View Post

True, speculation !!**

But, if the galley was up, then the gas would naturally flow down from the bridge deck into one or both hulls. In my cat I have galley up - however my gas tanks are in outside self draining Lazarettes under cockpit seats, if the gas leaks from the tanks it flows out through a hole in the lowest point into the air above the water. A fire in the galley would probably be the result of cooking oil catching fire. In that case my alarms would alert.

Whatever, when Propane or LPG ignites uncontrollably in a boat it is often catastrophic.**Whereas, in South East Asia gas is used without any thought of its potential danger by countless millions of people.
Alarms: This is what comes to my mind first!*

Boats of whatever kind are the worst "containments" to carry and use gas on! *And gas is used on most yachts, but gas detectors do not seem to be standard, built in by the boat yards.*

After we bought AQUARIA, the first thing we did was installing a gas detector down below in the bilge and it runs day and night when we are on board. And we test the detector occasionally with a cigarrette lighter and the tubing itself by checking if it holds the pressure from one cooking to the next: Closing the valve behind the cooker, then the one on the bottle and with the next use we first open the valve near the cooker, then the cooker itself. If we hear the pressure relief, everyting has been tight over hours!*

When the gas is not in use, we consequently close the valve at the bottle (which is of corse placed in a compartment draining outside) and not only the valve behind the gas cooker.

Any other ideas or hints that make the use of gas on board more safe?

Uwe

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Old 11-12-2010, 05:15 PM   #6
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Uwe,

someone might actually try to use his BIC lighter to check for gas. ( Darwin award, anyone?? ) Better clarify you meant just using the unlit butane to set off the gas-alarm for testing purposes only. I usually test with a whiff from an unlit propane torch or camp gaz cook top.



There also are purpose built gas sniffers around, some actually have a row of LED's giving a rough gas level indication to the user.

Best, I think is having both a pressure gauge and a sniffer alarm mounted sufficiently low to sense collecting gas, yet not too far away from the potential gas sources. When switching off the stove, I shut off the solenoid first and wait for the flame to die down. It just takes an instant. Only then do I close the stove gas knob. The idea is to burn off the remaining gas in the line.

In my opinion, gas is quite safe if USED safely. (checks, good technique, replace worn items ) It requires quite a high level or LEL (Least explosive level) before it kabooms when ignited. Unfortunately, the smelly odorant that is added to bottled gas can dissipate and the gas becomes/is about odorless then. Even though it is heavier than air, it will eventually dissipate from a bilge by regular diffusion alone, due to the partial pressure of gas law. The old saw that once it collects in your bilge it kind of stays forever is simply not true. CNG is lighter than LPG and much less of an issue, but most US boats use LPG.

As to Messieur B. of the unfortunate "Ker-POOHF".... "bonne chance" with the insurance claim, that is all I can say. They will for sure deny the claim outright, calling it suspicious. I'd have to agree actually in this case, given the Latitude 38 article info only.

After my house burnt down in a wild fire during which I was 3000 miles away on my boat, I had to undergo every trick in the insurers repertoire of denying a claim. Just because you have insurance, do not think it actually will insure. It only gives you a right to go and sue someone. Eventually I prevailed over the company but that story is at least as stressful as having the fire, if not worse. A fire is done and then out. Dealing with the insurance was a year-long battle with constant threats to sue. Better have all your facts and doc's handy plus nerves and determination of steel. You'll need it all and you will have to fight one hurdle after another..

But to make gas safer... less burrito perhaps and more Gas-X or Peptobismol?

Ivo

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquaria View Post

Alarms: This is what comes to my mind first!

Boats of whatever kind are the worst "containments" to carry and use gas on! And gas is used on most yachts, but gas detectors do not seem to be standard, built in by the boat yards.

After we bought AQUARIA, the first thing we did was installing a gas detector down below in the bilge and it runs day and night when we are on board. And we test the detector occasionally with a cigarrette lighter and the tubing itself by checking if it holds the pressure from one cooking to the next: Closing the valve behind the cooker, then the one on the bottle and with the next use we first open the valve near the cooker, then the cooker itself. If we hear the pressure relief, everyting has been tight over hours!

When the gas is not in use, we consequently close the valve at the bottle (which is of corse placed in a compartment draining outside) and not only the valve behind the gas cooker.

Any other ideas or hints that make the use of gas on board more safe?

Uwe

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Old 11-12-2010, 06:14 PM   #7
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I wonder if the boat had CNG rather than propane? Not a US vessel...

I'm sure we'll hear more about it as things get figured out L38 will likely keep on top of the story.
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