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 032015
Figure 1

Safety Digest from the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch, MAIB, frequently covers the more unusual ways of causing grief aboard ship and the latest issue is no disappointment: It reports and incident in which a vessel was flooded by own freshwater tank.
Says MAIB: “Poor planning and lack of procedures led to approximately 100 cubic metres of fresh water flooding accommodation and machinery compartments on board a large cargo ship.”
Continue reading »

Apr 022015

Two men, a Russian chief officer and a Ukrainian chief engineer have died in a hold containing timber while a third,  a Filipino second officer who attempted to rescue them collapsed by survived. The incident is under investigation by the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch while the report will not be available for some time the incident does highlight the confined space hazards of timber in cargo holds  and the continuing problem of would-be rescuers being overcome while attempting to recover victims. Continue reading »

Apr 012015

Again, the US National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB,  has released its annual  “Safer Seas: Lessons Learned From Marine Accident Investigations” report. Safer Seas is a compilation of accident investigations that were published in 2014, organized by vessel type with links to the more detailed accident reports. It’s a useful addition to a safety library.

The 43-page report contains a summary and the probable causes for 23 major marine accidents and features lessons learned from each of the accidents in an easy-to-use summary format. Issues include understanding vessel control systems, passenger safety during critical maneuvers, maintenance, and crew training.

Download Safer Seas 2014

Mar 302015

It’s the little things that catch you out. On the Shell-managed, Australia-flagged liquefied natural gas, LNG, tanker Northwest Stormpetrel the cargo engineer followed the rules as he checked the LNG forcing vaporiser’s steam trap to resolve drainage issues but thanks to a missing safety clip still got a painful face-full of steam that required him to be evacuated from the ship for treatment says a report from Australia’s Transport Safety Bureau, ATSB. Continue reading »

Mar 162015

One might be forgiven for believing that controllable pitch propeller systems are the illegitimate children of HAL, from the science fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, with a dangerously psychotic mindset all their own. Take the grounding of  the Cyprus-flagged MV Merita at Steubenhöft in Cuxhaven.

Germany’s Bundesstelle für Seeunfalluntersuchung, Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation, tells the tale of a disobedient vessel caused by the failure of a worn coupling in the wrong time and place:

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Feb 192015

When the esteemed Denis Bryant says: “This incident was the result of too many errors and failures and misadventures, including an unfortunately timed potty break, to easily summarize. I highly recommend reading the report in full” you can be sure that the report, in this case the US National Transportation Safety board’s report on the contact between the fishing boat American Dynasty and the Canadian warship HMCS Winnipeg, is worth reading.
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Feb 182015

At about midnight on the evening of 7/8 July 2014 the ro-ro ferry Stena Nautica with 155 passengers onboard suddenly decided it wanted to go hard starboard while departing from Grenaa Port, Denmark. Since she had not cleared the breakwater the result was a contact incident which put holes in her hull below the waterline and much denting. No-one was hurt but to go by the accident investigation by Denmark’s Maritime Accident Investigation Board, DMAIB, it appears to have been another design-assisted accident.

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Feb 152015

Crushing incidents have a particular sense of horror all of their own that needs no description. In the case of the fitter aboard the Bahamas-registered cruise ship Seven Seas Voyager he was left with serious injuries when a supposedly isolated ash dump valve closed on him, leading to hospitalisation for serious bruising and shock. He returned to the ship on light duties but two days later but continued to suffer from the effects of the incident and was discharged from the ship to recuperate at home for ten days. Continue reading »