A crew member on board a UK marine aggregate dredger was tasked to raise the cable tray along the base of the emergency generator engine room casing and weld into a new position.
A risk assessment had been completed, control measures implemented and the permit to work issued. Just after welding began, smoke started to emit from the fire cloth next to where welding was taking place. As the cause of this was not clear, and as a precaution to prevent any fire spreading, a closely sited fire extinguisher was used on the area that was smoking. The fire cloth was then taken out into the open air.
The Ship’s Safety Officer’s investigation identified that prior to use, the fire cloth had become contaminated with grease / oily residue and the sparks from the welding operation had caused the fire cloth to begin to smoulder.