These six deaths serve as unfortunate reminders of the dangers associated with the improper entry into shipboard enclosed spaces,

...RMI said in a new Marine Safety Advisory.

RMI has noted some similarities between this and other recent 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.


The Administrator noted that despite extensive industry discussion and crew member training recently, enclosed space incidents 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.

As such, the Administrator 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. It is further recommended that:

1. 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 onboard 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.

2. 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 crew members to resist their natural urge to immediately enter an enclosed space in order to try to assist a fellow crew member 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.

In late 2018, Intermanager launched an official campaign, aiming to stimulate seafarers to think about safety issues when working in enclosed spaces, as well as to raise awareness across the whole shipping community on this issue and encourage it to share measures which they believe would reduce risks.

How may a seafarer be suspicious that a space he/she is about to enter is dangerous (if no relevant poster or sign exists)? A space like the above:

  1. has limited openings for entry and exit;
  2. has inadequate ventilation; and
  3. is not designed for continuous worker occupation.