In 2019, two seafarers died and two were seriously injured in an enclosed space entry incident on an RMI-registered bulk carrier. With this respect, the RMI reiterated once again the need to maintain vigilance with regards to enclosed space entry and rescue training.
The continued loss of life due to improper enclosed space entry and rescue serves as an unfortunate reminder of the dangers associated with the improper entry into shipboard enclosed spaces,
…the RMI says in the new Marine Safety Advisory MSA-2020-23.
The Administrator has noted some similarities between enclosed space entry incidents, including:
- the lack of awareness by crew members of the potential hazards posed by the improper entry into enclosed spaces;
- senior crew members failing to ensure that ship management’s enclosed entry procedures are adhered to prior to directing junior crew members to enter an enclosed space; and
- the Master of the ship not being notified that an enclosed space was going to be entered.
Safe entry into enclosed spaces has been the focus of extensive industry discussion and crew member training recently. However, shipboard incidents relating to the improper entry into enclosed spaces continue to occur. This highlights the need to increase the awareness of all seafarers in the recognition of enclosed spaces, the hazards posed by improper entry, and the procedures for safe enclosed space entry.
Therefore, the RMI strongly recommends that ship managers review and amend, if necessary, their enclosed space entry procedures to ensure they comply with the requirements outlined in RMI Marine Notice 7-041-1 and are adequate to ensure the safety of crew members.
In addition, the Administrator strongly recommends that ship managers send a notice or bulletin to all ships in their managed fleet addressing:
- the dangers of improperly entering an enclosed space;
- how to recognize an enclosed space and examples of the different types of enclosed spaces a seafarer might encounter while performing their day-to-day shipboard tasks;
- that all seafarers, regardless of rank, must not enter an enclosed space without permission and then, only in accordance with ship management’s established procedures;
- who on-board is authorized to permit entry into an enclosed space; and
- that the best way for a seafarer to assist a fellow seafarer in trouble inside an enclosed space is to immediately raise the alarm so that an organized rescue can be conducted in accordance with ship management’s established procedure.
Finally, the Administrator also strongly recommends that Masters:
- hold a special safety meeting to review the notice or bulletin issued by ship management and share the information provided in this MSA, with particular emphasis on enforcing the responsibility that all seafarers have to prevent enclosed space entry related incidents and the need for crewmembers to resist their natural urge to immediately enter an enclosed space in order to try to assist a fellow crewmember in trouble;
- review the ship’s enclosed space entry procedures with the ship’s officers and crew and then conduct enclosed space entry training; and
- conduct an enclosed space rescue drill.