The Chinese crew of a bulk log carrier which suffered a fire while in port in Nelson have been praised for their fire-fighting that brought it under control within 25 minutes.

But while the new Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) welcomed their quick response, it has made a series of safety recommendations to the 20,000 ton Taokas Wisdom's operators.

The ship had arrived from Shanghai just hours before fire broke out in one of the crew member's cabins on July 11 last year.

The fire was detected by the automatic fire detection system, which activated the ship's general alarm.


The ship's crew brought the blaze under control within 25 minutes, before local firefighters came on board to extinguish any remaining hotspots.

The cabin where the fire started was extensively damaged but there were no injuries.

A subsequent TAIC investigation couldn't identify the cause of the fire definitively, partly because some evidence had been disturbed when the crew began cleaning the cabin before a scene examination could be conducted.

But it raised safety issues with the monthly fire drills on board where not all of the crew were fully conversant with their duties and responsibilities, and did not result in the firefighting procedures being followed.

TAIC recommended that the ship operator establish a command centre to help control a fire and minimise damage.

It also advised that by enclosing the space that is on fire - or leaving it enclosed - will help prevent the spread of the fire, minimise the damage it causes, and is essential to putting it out.