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Report on death recommends improved safety standards

Fisherman died after inhaling carbon monoxide from portable pump A crewman who collapsed on the "Starlight Rays" in August 2011 and never regained consciousness was poisoned by carbon monoxide, a report into his death has found. He and two other crew members were airlifted to hospital from the vessel which was on stand-by for the oil industry in the Devenick field, about 150 miles east of Aberdeen, but one man died.The fisherman was trying to use a portable, petrol engine-driven pump to remove oily water from a compartment inside the boat's fish hold. The hold did not have mechanical ventilation and had little circulation of natural air, causing high levels of carbon monoxide to build up, a report by the Marine Accidents Investigations Branch found.The other two men were also overcome by the fumes as they tried to rescue their colleague but they recovered. The report said the accident demonstrated "inadequate consideration and control of hazardous work activities on board the 'Starlight Rays'". It said crewmen need to be more aware of the dangers of working in enclosed spaces, and has sent a safety flyer to the fishing industry.It recommended that the owner and skippers of the "Starlight Rays" improve ...

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Multiple injuries from falling hatch lid

Experience Feedback A disused washing machine was being lifted out of the engine room through the hatchway located on the main deck. The hatchway had a portable lid which was designed to be lifted and stowed clear by means of a portable davit fitted on one side of the coaming.However, the crew assigned to this task decided to partially tilt the lid open and temporarily hold it at that angle by using a wire rope sling and chain block attached to the davit. The Junior Engineer (J/E) was on the main deck observing the operation.As the lift was being prepared, the engine room alarm sounded. The J/E leaned over the open hatchway trunk to look into the engine room with his right hand resting on the coaming edge and his left hand taking the support of the partially open lid.Suddenly, the hauling chain of the block parted and the lid fell down, striking a glancing blow to his head and trapping his right hand. He sustained a deep cut on his scalp (not wearing helmet) and multiple compound fractures to his right hand.He was given first aid onboard and repatriated urgently for extensive restorative surgery ashore. It is likely that ...

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Oil cargo spill from tank washing line drain cock

Experience Feedback During a ballast voyage, a product tanker completed tank cleaning operations for change of cargo grade. Her next loading port was in North America, and in anticipation of freezing winter conditions, all fresh and sea water lines on deck, including the tank cleaning lines drains, were left open as a precaution.The supply valves of the individual tank cleaning machines were ordered shut. The ship loaded a full cargo of diesel oil and sailed. After disembarking the sea pilot at about midnight, the vessel began rolling to a moderate beam swell. By daybreak, the Chief Officer (C/O) on bridge watch noticed a small pool of oil cargo moving with the roll on the main deck starboard side, between the deck longitudinal and ship's side.The Master was immediately called and the oil spill emergency response plan was activated. Upon the Master's arrival on the bridge, the C/O proceeded to the main deck. Meanwhile, the crew had plugged all the scuppers on the main deck. The crew found that cargo was coming out through the open drain cock on the tank cleaning line branch to 5 Starboard Cargo Oil Tank (COT). This valve was immediately shut, and the deck team then ...

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Faulty automatic kettle caught fire

Experience Feedback The electric kettles being used on board typically consisted of a cordless stainless steel jug fitted with a plastic base that contained the electric heating element. Power was supplied via a male-female central connector mounted on the base unit, also made of plastic.Following a mid-afternoon coffee break, the crew had left the messroom and had failed to notice that the water in the kettle was still boiling and the automatic thermostat switch had not operated and cut off the power supply to the heating coil. Some minutes later, all the water had evaporated and without any more heat load, the temperature rose high enough for the plastic base and kettle bottom to melt and ultimately catch fire.The strong smell of burning plastic drew the attention of a passing crewmember, who, after seeing the fire and smoke at the base of the electric kettle, quickly disconnected the power cord from the supply socket and transferred the burning kettle and base unit into the adjacent galley sink and turned on the water, successfully extinguishing the fire.Root cause/contributory factors1. Automatic thermostatic switch malfunction;2. Negligence on the part of the crew in not observing that the kettle was still boiling when they ...

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Waste oil incinerator catches fire

Experience Feedback During routine watch keeping, the engineer in charge started the waste oil incinerator for burning garbage and waste oil sludge. After about an hour of operation, the ship's fire alarm sounded and the local fire (hyper mist) extinguishing unit was activated in the waste oil incinerator space. On hearing the alarm, all personnel mustered and the incinerator was stopped.Result of investigation1. The atomiser unit's air nozzle holes were found to be choked with hard viscous sludge thereby restricting the flow of air into the incineration chamber. This condition seemed to have existed for some weeks prior to the incident;2. Waste oil had failed to atomise properly and had collected and spread over the bottom of the combustion chamber and ignited, producing a large quantity of smoke;3. The smoke activated the fire alarm, triggering the local fixed water mist fire extinguishing system.Root cause/contributory factors1. Failure to maintain the incinerator's burner assembly as per maker's recommendations; in particular the atomiser nozzles had not been properly inspected and cleaned;2. Failure to fully inspect the combustion chamber, which would have shown that waste oil had accumulated on the bottom from previous burning operations;3. Failure to properly monitor the exhaust during past operations ...

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Improper stowage of oversize steel

Experience Feedback As a port captain, I recently handled the discharge of a project cargo consignment of oversize steel structurals loaded inside the hold and on the hatch cover of a heavylift cargo vessel. Each lift was between 30 and 40 metres long, and almost identical in height (3 metres) and width (2 metres) and weighed an average of about 55 metric tonnes. Both loading and unloading was done using ship's twin cranes used in tandem (Gemini) mode.In line with my past experience, none of the lifts bore proper markings to show the gross weight, slinging method and centre of gravity. Further, the pieces were randomly loaded with some stowed standing on the flanged base (vertical orientation) and others on the side (horizontal orientation). Proper lifting padeyes were welded on both sides of each lift, indicating that they were designed to be lifted and stowed in a vertical orientation only. The consignment was destined for a project site deep in the hinterland, involving transportation on a single lane road by special trailer for a distance of nearly 900 kilometres from the discharge port. Fearing the trailer could overturn if the lifts were loaded in the vertical orientation, the road haulier ...

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Fatality from parted mooring rope

Experience Feedback A feeder container ship was berthing starboard side to a terminal on a clear, calm morning. The berthing pilot was assisted by the bridge team consisting of the Master, 3/O and helmsman. The forward mooring station was manned by the C/O, Bosun, an Ordinary Seaman (OS), a Trainee Seaman (trainee) and a deck cadet. The aft mooring station was manned by the 2/O and two ABs. The helmsman, who was also an AB, was expected to join the aft mooring party on completion of his bridge duties, once the vessel had been placed alongside its berth. Two tugs were assisting, one was made fast on the port quarter and the other was standing by forward to assist in accordance with pilot's orders. After closing with the berth, the aft backspring was sent ashore.The Master then instructed the C/O to send out the forward lines. While the cadet, OS and the trainee were lowering the forward backspring and a headline through the centreline panama chock, the Bosun, facing aft, operated the winch controls located inside the fore peak store access trunk. The C/O was standing on the starboard bulwark platform and directing the team with hand signals. As the ...

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