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welding polypropylene

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Unauthorized welding by crewmembers in the main laundry ignited a large accumulation of lint in the ventilation system, leading to a major fire aboard a cruise ship that injured 23 people and resulted in damages exceeding $17 million, the National Transportation Safety Board has found.
On July 20, 1998, the Liberian-registered passenger ship Ecstasy - operated by Carnival Cruise Lines - departed the Port of Miami, Florida, en route to Key West, with 2,565 passengers and 916 crewmembers on board, when a fire started in the main laundry. The fire migrated through the ventilation system to the aft mooring deck where polypropylene mooring lines ignited. As the ship was attempting to reach an anchorage point, it lost propulsive power and steering and began to drift. The fire was declared extinguished 4 hours later, and the vessel was towed back to port.
The Safety Board found that two crewmembers were preparing to weld in the laundry room without obtaining the proper authorization. During the course of that activity, a fire migrated to the lint that had accumulated in the ventilation system. In addition to the unauthorized welding, the Board cited Carnival's failure to maintain the laundry exhaust ducts in a fire-safe condition as part of the probable cause. Contributing to the extensive fire damage on the ship was the lack of an automatic fire suppression system on the aft mooring deck and the lack of an automatic means of mitigating the spread of smoke and fire through the ventilation ducts.

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