Jul 292015

If you can read the label on your liferaft hydrostatic release unit without standing on your head then it may be incorrectly installed, suggests a warning from Marine Safety Forum. Worth noting that the problem was identified onboard a vessel during an internal inspection only two days after a flag state safety equipment survey.

The discovery concerned Thanner 4 Year Hydrostatic Release Units which comprise a hydrostatic bolt within a frame. When the release operates, the bracket comes free of the bolt, allowing the raft to float free. At this point the painter should remain attached to the ship via a small wire weak link; the same would apply if the raft had been released manually. If the release unit has been fitted upside down, as has been found recently as shown below left, the weak link is not connected to the ship. Therefore, upon release, the raft would be allowed to float free without inflating, which could result in an evacuating crew having a very bad day.

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Jun 012015

Is there anything remotely ambiguous about the signage on this hatch-cover?  Why did three seafarers ignore them? Unfortunately the report from the Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation on three confined space deaths aboard the German-flagged general cargo ship Suntis does not tell us. Key questions remain unanswered but the circumstances are all too familiar.

Says the report “MV Suntis left the port of Riga in Latvia on 19 May 2014 and reached the port of Goole in the United Kingdom on the evening of Saturday 24 May 2014. The crew was composed of a 67-year-old German master, a 60-year-old German chief officer, and three Philippine seamen (38, 33 and 30 years old). The ship was laden with timber. Continue reading »

May 022015

Since 2000, in South East Asia there have been 163 accidents in the region involving ferries, killing more than 17,000 people. Over the years there has been little effective action to reduce that toll among the countries with the most losses – the Philippines, China, Indonesia and Bangladesh. Now, following a conference in Manila in late April, has adopted guidelines to aid the process of reducing the mounting toll of accidents involving such vessels by addressing the question of whether a ship is fit for purpose.

(Below, Stephanie Coutrix spoke with IMO’s Lee Adamson who was there for the conference.)

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Apr 292015

New Zealand’s fishing firm Talleys Group Ltd has been fined $48,000 and ordered to pay $35,000 in reparation to the family of a crewman killed after falling nearly 7m on the vessel Capt MJ Souza in Nelson in May 2012. Crewman Cain Adams died after he stepped onto a hatch on the main deck that rotated, causing him to fall nearly 6.9m through another open hatch in the deck below to the floor of the vessel’s fish well.

The company was sentenced in Nelson District Court on 29 April after being found guilty in March of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees after the death of crewman Cain Adams.

The reparations ordered are in addition to a payment of $54,000 already made to the family by the company. Continue reading »

Apr 292015

Something is deeply wrong with an industry in which so many can die so often in tragedies entirely avoidable.  One death, three injured and one escape from a hold containing wood pellets aboard the Polish-flagged bulker Corina this week brings the number of confined space casualties to eleven within the past month. Such losses are unacceptable. Continue reading »

Apr 272015

You might not smell trouble but you might see it coming, even if it wears a mask

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We’ll call him Danek, not his real name but he was a real person, a Polish able seaman and one of nine crew aboard the 30 years old 81 metre general cargo ship Monika, flagged in Antigua Barbuda. Danek’s cabin is in the forward part of the accommodation which overhangs the aft bulkhead of one of Monika’s two holds by about half a metre. Next to his cabin is the ship’s hospital.

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Apr 272015

Explosions aboard bulkers loaded at Grande Do Sul, Brazil, are believed to have involved phosphine fumigants, warns the North of England P&I club, Nepia. Those vessels undergoing fumigation at Rio Grande Do Sul should contact the local agents or P&I correspondents for advice on the current situation with respect to fumigants.

Most incidents involving phosphine tablets, colloquially known in Latin America as ‘tablets of love‘,

One potential cause of a phosphine fumigant explosion may be contaminated tablets of aluminium phosphide or similar fumigants. Tablets react with moisture to produce phosphine gas, PH3, which has an autoignition temperature of 38 Celsius However, the presence of impurities, particularly diphosphine, often causes PH3 gas to ignite spontaneously at room temperature and to form explosive mixtures at concentrations greater than 1.8% by volume in air. The spontaneous ignition behaviour of PH 3 gas is very unpredictable. Continue reading »

Apr 102015

Following the deaths of two ship’s officers aboard the general cargo ship Sally Ann C off the West African coast seafarer’s union Nautilus International has called for the UK to lead a ‘new and concerted drive to end the appalling litany’ of seafarer fatalities in enclosed spaces.

Investigations into the incident – which took place off the coast of west Africa – are underway, but it is known that the chief officer and chief engineer died after entering a hold where timber was stowed and the second officer had to be rescued after losing consciousness when he went to the aid of his colleagues. Continue reading »