This study investigates maritime accident reports regarding fire and explosion (F&E) events that occurred between 1999 and 2013 in tankers transporting hazardous liquid cargoes. The aim is to analyse the root causes of F&E accidents and identify the relationship with their causative factors. The most significant causes of F&E accidents are found to be hot work, electric arcs, static electricity, and combustible gas accumulation in the cargo tank. The main causative factors are the violation of work permits and a lack of risk analysis. Fire prevention aboard ships can be improved by enhancing training standards and safety awareness, and reducing the commercial pressures on ship operations. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.