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Fire on dive boat Conception in CA

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by divezonescuba, Sep 2, 2019.

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  1. Ojai Diver

    Ojai Diver Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Southern California
    We are all looking at this with fresh eyes, that was one of my points.

    Another point I made was that before September 2, 2019, I never heard any predictions of disaster from anybody regarding these or similar boats, anywhere.

    Nor was there a precedent of which I am aware, let alone a pattern of tragedies, that foresaw this accident.
  2. DavidLoPan

    DavidLoPan Angel Fish

    I've been out of the scuba game for 4 years now. Prior to my "semi-retirement" I dove consistently on weekends and Dive Mastered a few LA County classes like their ADP and UICC classes.
    First things first; to the families who lost a loved one(s) on this horrific tragedy my condolences. I hope through the investigation we come away with better ways to do things, a change policies, or better regulations.

    Second, just my 2 cents on what could have started the fire. I have just 2 possibilities.
    1. Batteries. With today's technology, computers, cell phones, and gadgets there could have been a situation where many devices were plugged into a surge protector(s). A battery or 2 could have gotten very hot. But that in itself could not have caused a fire without fuel and possibly an accelerant. If you don't believe a battery can get very hot, the next time you or your friend has a macbook pro and is using for a long time, check out the area just above the keyboard between the monitor..that area could get hot. As to what the fuel and accelerant are is anyone's guess, i'm not an expert.

    2. With the ease and accessibility of rebreathers could it be possible that there could have been a rebreather (or more) on the dive trip? And if there is a possibility that there were rebreathers could it be possible that one could have been stored on one of the benches in the galley or inside? (Correct me if i'm wrong but don't some rebreathers have a tank dedicated for oxygen. Sorry, i never got into rebreathers during diving) . If that's the case, pure 02, which is slightly heavier than air or nitrogen, at room temp, could have displaced the room air and started to concentrate at high levels. With a high enough concentration of oxygen in a small space an electrical short could have ignited the air thus starting the fire. This could explain why the fire relit after firefighters put it out initially.

    Would be interesting to see what the investigation comes up with.

    Any thoughts?
  3. lizardqueen

    lizardqueen Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: LA
    I'm still obsessing about how it could've been any of us, yet know I'll be back on a liveaboard. My dive buddy who'd been on Conception half a dozen times told me it was a nice boat, and it was on my list to book a Truth Aquatics trip. For those of us who are thrilled to boat to out-of-the-way dive sites, how do we move ahead?

    It'll take years for NTSB changes to trickle down to our boats. How will USA regulations affect things somewhere like the Solomon Islands? It isn't like going high end will shield us. The swankest liveaboards I've been on likely have some of the same issues-BTW that would be Truk Odyssey and Damai Dua, fancy in totally different ways.

    I'm not criticizing the investigation, which so far seems spot on regarding smoke inhalation. The probability that all 34 people were so deep asleep not a single one roused seemed farfetched to me...you only need 1 person to wake up the bunk room, and the crew and charter company both had their people in there who knew the boat. The noxious fumes theory addresses this.

    If I could BYO my personal fumes+heat detector, it'd be a lot better than my normal bunk kit consisting of a headlamp, chapstick and bottle of water. I've posted about my junky home fire detector working, but I'd like something better and smaller, made of higher quality components. Something that would detect carbon monoxide plus all the nasty stuff emitted by burning fiberglass and batteries. This wouldn't be a bad thing for all those horror stories about people robbing hotel rooms after they deploy knockout gas either.

    Any thoughts? But I'm good if you keep your thoughts to yourself, if they're about how much you disagree with me that fire alarm failure and toxic air are the salient aspects of this situation. Yes, I've read every page of this thread. Huge thanks, diving brothers and sisters!
  4. EricTheDood

    EricTheDood DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: California
    An O2 tank on a rebreather is way too small to have played a major factor here.
    Texas Torpedo likes this.
  5. lexvil

    lexvil Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: jamestown, ca.
  6. ChrisM

    ChrisM Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Torrance, CA
    So the "safety edict" is a bit weird.

    All it really says is "remind your crew of their duties and make sure everyone is trained." Paraphrasing of course but good reminder for sure.

    The battery issue strikes me as odd. The CG mentions batteries, so they think it's an issue and related, but If they really thought it was an issue, they'd say more than "consider limiting"? Here it's left to the operator's discretion (although I gotta think most if not all ops are going to significantly change any charging procedures)

    Here is the actual document https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Portals/9/DCO Documents/5p/MSIB/2019/MSIB_008_19.pdf?ver=2019-09-10-115632-287&fbclid=IwAR1zMN1GsBulO0FtknEThr1zRY196ktfDlNwDHB9mjw5bsMDkquMTPKKTpA
  7. JackD342

    JackD342 Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Highland Park, IL
    Apparently editors at Yahoo News (or whoever they linked from) don't know what "edict" means. One definition says "a proclamation having the force of law."
    This bulletin was actually reminders and recommendations, no edicts.
  8. ChrisM

    ChrisM Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Torrance, CA

    I looked in the thread but maybe missed it, I interpret that as meaning the liability of the chosen watchman. It would be difficult to stay awake all when diving at all, dozes off, fire happens. That watchman has taken on a substantial liability for the lives of others, accompanied by a substantial legal liability for injuries to them should he or she neglect their duties. And they won't be insured for that. Not to mention that the chartering party is also now on the hook for boat operations because they "hired" the watch

    That's the (potential) liability I see.
  9. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member


    A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

    Any further discussion of cutting hole in wall(s) or use of a chainsaw will be deleted without notice.
    Gnarcosis, ktkt, wnissen and 36 others like this.
  10. KevinNM

    KevinNM DIR Practitioner

    That's modern 'journalism' for you. These are the people who think 'refuted'='denied without presenting any evidence.' Words mean 'whatever our SEO guy says they should mean to maximize clickbait'.

    But the USCG document gives a pretty good idea what they think have found, and what they have found wanting on the actions of the crew.

    I suspect what happened over time is called practical drift, where the carefully laid out safety critical procedures slowly change over time, each change for for what seems like reasonable reasons, without anyone really intending the margin of safety to be reduced, or possibly really realizing how much things have changed from baseline.

    "Over time, this phenomenon leads to “the slow steady uncoupling of practice from written procedure” [Snook 2000]. Behaviour that is acquired in practice and is seen to “work” becomes “legitimized through unremarkable repetition”, as Snook writes (“it didn’t lead to an accident, so it must be OK”)."

    Rasmussen and practical drift: Drift towards danger and the normalization of deviance
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