Livestock carrier 'Ocean Drover' catches fire in Fremantle

Livestock ship ablaze at Fremantle, WA, crew members injured

Fire on sheep ship

PHOTO: Crew battle a fire on the Ocean Drover, a livestock ship berthed in Fremantle. (Audience submitted: Mark Tunnecliffe)

VIDEO: Livestock ship on fire in Fremantle (ABC News)

VIDEO: Emergency services battle blaze on ship at Fremantle(ABC News)

Firefighters are battling a blaze on a livestock ship berthed in Fremantle, which injured a number of crew members on board.

The fire started in the bow of the Ocean Drover, berthed at Rouse Head in Perth's south, just before 8:00am (WST).

A man in his 40s was rushed to hospital with burns and suffering from smoke inhalation, while others were treated by paramedics on the dock.

St John Ambulance said 45 people from the ship have been affected by smoke inhalation.

All crew have now been accounted for.

It is understood the sheep ship was waiting to be loaded with livestock when the fire broke out, and there were no animals on board.

Paul Heal, an acting superintendent for the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES), said the blaze started in the crew's quarters. "It appears that we've had a fire in the crew's accommodation area which has spread rapidly through that area," he said. "There were some crew members in there." He said firefighters were finding it a tough situation. "It's very difficult as it's very compartmentalised on a ship, so it's difficult to get into the different areas, but we've got crews gaining access via different areas," he said. "It's a very hot environment inside, it's so contained."

Sixteen fire crews, comprised of 64 firefighters, some from as far north of Perth as Butler, were fighting the blaze while smoke continued to pour out of the ship's bridge.

Cause of fire to be investigated

Fremantle Port Authority's Ainslie de Vos said emergency services were quickly at the scene and tugs were on standby. "The emergency response was quite rapid, and FESA is still at the port getting the fire under control," Ms de Vos said. "We've also got two tugs standing by near that ship. “The ship is a Wellard ship, it's a regular visitor to Fremantle. I don't have details at this stage of where it was headed." Ms de Vos said there would be an investigation. "It hasn't impacted on the port in other ways," she said. "With a fire there is always an investigation and the ship would need to be surveyed for seaworthiness."

Acting Superintendent Heal said an investigation would get underway. "We're unaware at the moment of how it started," he said. "Our fire investigation team will be here and they're going to investigate once it's safe to get inside." He said the blaze should be extinguished some time this afternoon.


Source: ABC News