Thursday, October 15, 2009
A small explosion on board the RFA Argus at Falmouth Docks on Saturday led to the ship being evacuated and men being sent home. The explosion in the switchboard room, which is situated below decks and close to the engine rooms, happened at about 10.45am. Fire crews from Falmouth, Truro, Redruth and Camborne were soon at the dockyard, where the ship is undergoing a refit. Although there was no actual fire, there was a considerable amount of smoke so firefighters boarded the vessel wearing breathing apparatus. Peter Child, managing director of A&P Falmouth, said: "There was a small explosion that blew a hole in a panel. "There was a loud bang and a bit of smoke, but nobody was hurt.
RFA Argus (A135)"We were initially worried that the ship would lose its live on board capacity and that the crew would have to move off. "We brought in our full evacuation procedure and had to isolate the room – everything went brilliantly. "Everything was restored by 7pm and it was back to business as usual." With the ship evacuated, some of the docks' workforce were sent home early, while the second shift was cancelled. RFA Argus, which specialises in aviation training and is also a floating hospital, has been in port since January and is undergoing a major refit as part of a 30 year Ministry of Defence contract worth £53 million. The work to repair the damaged switchboard room should be complete within 10 days.