A fire in the engine room of the 30,635gt/1991 built Dover-Calais ferry Pride of Canterbury (above) on 29th September 2014 as she docked in Calais was caused by a worn pressure valve, a report found. The fire was quickly extinguished and none of the 337 passengers and crew was injured, and all disembarked as normal.
P&O Ferries said that since the fire a programme of modifications had been undertaken. The report, from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, stated a pipework joint ruptured, spraying oil and starting the fire. Its report concluded “the back pressure valve was found to be worn and had not been tested for functionality during its 23 years of service”.
The storage of combustible materials near the two main engines allowed the fire to spread, and there was a lack of a high pressure alarm. Helen Deeble, chief executive of P&O Ferries, said the modifications had been carried out on the Pride of Canterbury and her three sister ships to ensure enhanced safety arrangements are in place. Back pressure valves will be replaced after 15 years and P&O also complied with all technical guidelines that were in place at the time.