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NAVSEA establishes new US Navy group to improve industrial fire safety

Fire damage led to the decommissioning of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard in 2020. The US Navy has established a group to prevent such incidents. (US Navy)

The US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) has established a new team focused on preventing future industrial shipboard fires and reducing risks highlighted in the investigations of previous fires, NAVSEA officials confirmed on 6 December.

Over the past 12 years, the navy has suffered four major shipboard fires that resulted in the loss of two capital asset ships, extended availabilities, and significantly increased costs, NAVSEA officials noted in a statement.

The launch of the Industrial Fire Safety Assurance Group (IFSAG) by NAVSEA Commander Vice Admiral William Galinis and Executive Director Giao Phan, “provides the command and the navy with a team focused specifically on analysing industrial shipboard fire metrics, and developing actions to address and reduce those risks”, NAVSEA officials said.

“Hot work and electrical fires,” Eric Duncan, IFSAG director pointed out, “are top offenders, along with material handling and stowage, and compliance with fire safety requirements.”

He added, “The group will drive all current and future NAVSEA actions resulting from fire investigations.”

The group's establishment comes in the wake of one the worst US Navy (USN) fires and subsequent investigations.

While in week 88 of a Chief of Naval Operations maintenance availability at Naval Base San Diego, a fire broke out onboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) on 12 July 2020, in the lower vehicle storage compartment.

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