Sep 222007

Anyone familiar with The Case Of The Silent Assassin will recognise what happened in this report from Today’s Zaman.  It’s self-evident these seafarers were not adequately trained, did not follow safe entry procedures and it’s doubtful whether they were aware of the ship’s SMS.

“Five crewmembers of a Ukrainian vessel, on its way to Hatay’s Iskenderun district to load its freight from an iron and steel factory, have been poisoned by a reported air contamination and one has died.

When crewmembers saw Stanislov Gonkivskyi, 35, who had been working in the ship’s hold, lying on the ground, they tried to revive him. In their attempts to help Gonkivskyi, the three of them along with Yuri Sherstyk, 34, were poisoned as well — it is thought that the atmosphere below deck was dangerously low in oxygen. The crew was taken to Iskenderun State Hospital where Gonkivskyi died despite the efforts of medical staff. Sherstyk has been sent to Çukurova University’s Adana Balcali Hospital because he was in more serious condition than the others.”

To repeat the words of the investigator in the Silent Assassin: “Every time there is a fatal accident involving entry into an enclosed space and personnel being overcome in a non life supporting atmosphere the question is asked as to “how does this keep happening?”. Training and familiarisation should ensure that all crew members are aware of the dangers in entering a space without first checking the atmosphere. Unfortunately it would appear that education is still needed to get the message through

My guess is that a previous cargo of iron products oxidised (rusted) , sucking oxygen from the air to below a level capable of sustaining life. It can also happen with rusting bulkheads. So even if th hold hasn’t been inerted or used for toxic substances there can still a threat so use safety entry procedures EVERY time, not just when you THINK there might be a risk.

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