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Ship Fire Damage Case Study

Multiple Vehicles Impacted: A ship Fire Causes Vehicle Damage

Large car carrier ships traverse the oceans every day. Most arrive with their cargo intact and all pickups and deliveries are made without incident. However, there are accidents that happen at sea, including a ship fire that caused vehicle damage. Early in 2017, Nationwide Auto Services was informed of a fire at sea damaging an unknown number of vehicles. In this case, the vehicles affected were not new cars but instead the personal cars of military personnel living abroad.

NAS was contacted mainly because of our lengthy relationship with the insurer and our ability to adapt our processes and work force to unusual situations. We were specifically asked to perform “vehicle inspections, remediation & classification”. This is the type of project NAS is uniquely qualified for. NAS leadership, with the support of the home office, can develop a strategy for executing the requirements of the situation.

NAS was asked to respond very quickly to initially survey the damage and recommend remediation solutions and classification of damage. Our crews scanned, classified, photographed and reported damage on every vehicle damaged by the fire. If a vehicle could be repaired, we developed a process to clean the soot damage and remediate the smoke smell from the vehicles.

For period of months NAS continued to work with the insurer and VPC to generate total loss reports and answer damage questions from vehicle owners. This required being very detailed and thorough from the beginning with scans and overall reporting. We were asked to inspect vehicles, classify damage and remediate the less damage vehicles. A horrible accident occurred at sea. NAS helped mitigate the severity through expert solutions. 

“The source paint contained aluminum particles in it which means mechanical buffing could not be used or it would scratch the finish.” said Jim Gerencser, owner of Nationwide Overspray. “The original car paint is extremely soft. Our overspray removal techniques are designed to be gentle. We did not want to add to the damage.” 

The cars were housed in a 50,000 square foot section of a large warehouse. The warehouse owners were repainting the ceiling and support poles in the vacant spaces for new tenants.  

The paint contractor was using spray guns to apply the aluminum – based paint. The ceiling to wall junctions have small gaps along with rollup doors. In addition, the space housing the car collection was not climate controlled and because it was a very warm day the outside doors were opened and several large fans were in use to exhaust the warm air to the outside.  

This created a suction that pulled a fine mist of paint through the tiny gaps and into the car collection space. The result was a fine mist that “rained” on the entire car collection. Analysis and liability determination of the paint at a lab was used to understand the makeup of the overspray.  

Nationwide Overspray used special light tunnels allowing the tiniest speck of paint to be seen clearly and subsequently cleaned. The owner of the collection was understandably relieved that the cars were cleaned successfully. 

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