Jan 232016
 

So what do you do when you experience an incident that was very nearly an accident? Or a dangerous situation, an accident in waiting, that you think you can do nothing about? Do you curse, shrug and forget because you think nothing can be done? Or your job might be at risk if you make a fuss about it? There is a way to solve that problem – it’s called CHIRP, the Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme.

CHIRP has released a video, made by Maritime Films UK, about how it works and how it can help you keep yourself safe, without compromising your job, with examples of success stories. Click “Continue reading” below to watch the video.

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 032015
 

Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority, MPA, is asking for near-misses to be reported under a confidential reporting scheme. A form is available from the MPSA’s website. As with similar schemes the MPS assures reporters that their identity will remain confidential and that information provided will not be used for prosecution or litigation.

Near-miss reports can enable safety problems to be identified before they cause an accident. It has been estimated that for each accident there are some 100 near-misses. Those near-misses can also be symptomatic of wider safety problems: Many accident reports include a range of safety concerns unconnected with the incident itself. 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 »

Aug 072014
 

Towing vessel Safety Runner tied up on the Mobile River next to two Kirby barges at the Oil Recovery Company Gas Freeing Terminal, ORC, unaware that the barges were being cleaned of residual diesel. Shortly afterwards the engines aboard Safety Runner began racing and could not be shut down, there was a fire which spread to the to the barges, resulting in explosions.

Three people sustained serious burn injuries. The total damage to the vessel and barge was estimated at $5.7 million.

Poor operations manuals and uncertified personnel played a key role in the incident. Continue reading »

Jun 072014
 

DWHEffective compression, a phenomenon not previously identified as a problem with drill pipe during well operations, lead to the failure of the Blow Out Preventer, BOP, to shut off oil and gas flow on the Deepwater Horizon. The phenomenon caused the pipe to buckle almost as soon ss the explosion began which suggests the danger still exists in other blow-out preventers currently in use.

Says the US Chemical Safety Board , which hs relesed its draft report on the incident: ” The blowout preventer that was intended to shut off the flow of high-pressure oil and gas from the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico during the disaster on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20, 2010, failed to seal the well because drill pipe buckled for reasons the offshore drilling industry remains largely unaware of”.

The blowout caused explosions and a fire on the Deepwater Horizon rig, leading to the deaths of 11 personnel onboard and serious injuries to 17 others.  Nearly 100 others escaped from the burning rig, which sank two days later, leaving the Macondo well spewing oil and gas into Gulf waters for a total of 87 days. By that time the resulting oil spill was the largest in offshore history.  The failure of the BOP directly led to the oil spill and contributed to the severity of the incident on the rig.

According to the CSB report concluded that the pipe buckling likely occurred during the first minutes of the blowout, as crews desperately sought to regain control of oil and gas surging up from the Macondo well.  Although other investigations had previously noted that the Macondo drill pipe was found in a bent or buckled state, this was assumed to have occurred days later, after the blowout was well underway. Continue reading »

Oct 152012
 

The thermal oil heater burner nozzle had been assembled incorrectly.

It’s often not the complicated procedures that lead to an accident, it’s the apparently simple, as in the case of an explosion aboard the Qian Chi in Brisbane, Australia which seriously injured three crew members and cause significant damage to a thermal oil heater and its surrounding. Part of the problem, though not specifically mentioned in the ATSB report, is that the brain filters out the familiar so that those small things that are different are not noticed, it’s a phenomenon that is often passed off as ‘complacency’.

The ATSB says it found that “.. during maintenance, the thermal oil heater burner nozzle had been assembled incorrectly. This was because the crew lacked experience with the equipment and the manufacturer supplied instructions were not clear and detailed. As a result, the nozzle leaked fuel into the furnace throughout the pre-ignition start sequence. The furnace exploded when the burner igniter started”.

The ATSB also found that the ship’s crew were not aware of the importance of providing immediate and accepted first aid treatment for burn injuries. It was also found that deficiencies in the Brisbane port vessel traffic service procedures and preparedness contributed to delays in providing emergency assistance. Continue reading »

Jul 202012
 

Bret A. Simpson, the owner of Principle Metals, LLC, has pleaded guilty in US District Court in Tacoma to two criminal violations of the Clean Water Act; failing to report a discharge of oil, and unlawfully discharging oil into the Columbia River near Camas, Washington. The failure to report offense is punishable by up to five years in prison, while the unlawful discharge offense is punishable by up to one year in prison.

Simpson admits that he was informed about oil left on the barge Davy Crockett while conducting salvage operations. However, Simpson failed to have the oil removed before workers started cutting up the metal barge. When the first oil spill occurred in early December 2010, Simpson failed to notify authorities and failed to take any affirmative steps to monitor the vessel or protect it from natural forces and further structural damage.

Subsequent spills in January 2011 led U.S. Coast Guard investigators to identify the Davy Crockett as the source and initiate a federally funded cleanup effort. Ultimately the US Coast Guard spent eight months and about $20 million working with environmental authorities to clean up the spill and remove the derelict barge from the river. Continue reading »

Jul 152012
 

MSC Flaminia – Was the cargo manifest accurate? Photo: Lampje, MSC Ships Blog

Crew have abandoned the 75,590 tonne German-flagged containership MSC Flaminia following an explosion in a cargo hold.

The incident may again raise concerns regarding the accuracy of container manifests. A similar fire occurred in 2006 aboard the Hyundai Fortune, possibly due to calcium hypochlorite, with secondary explosions from fireworks carried aboard.

Attention may also be paid to the possibility of contaminated gases in reefer units, which caused problems in 2011.

At 10:07 on Sunday Falmouth Coastguard received the relayed mayday broadcast from the German registered MSC Flaminia reporting that the crew on board had abandoned the vessel.

Falmouth Coastguard broadcast an alert to all vessels in the area and the nearest vessel which could provide assistance was the oil tanker DS Crown which immediately changed course to intercept the MSC Flaminia. Six other merchant vessels also proceeded to the location to help with the search and rescue operation but were more than six hours from the location. Rescue helicopters do not have the endurance required to attend an incident of this nature because the vessel is approximately 1,000 miles from land mid way between the UK and Canada.

John Green, Apostleship of the Sea Director of Development says “This tragedy is a reminder of the dangers seafarers face each day to bring us various goods we rely on. Like so many seafarers, the crew on the Flaminia lived a very hard life. But they go to sea because it’s the only way they can provide for their families.”

DS Crown arrived on scene to confirm that the MSC Flaminia was still burning and recovered 24 people from a lifeboat and a liferaft. Four crew had suffered injuries. The injured crew have been transferred to the vessel MSC Stella which will take them to the Azores. One crew member is missing.

The MSC Flaminia is a large container vessel of 75,590 gross tonnage and had 25 people on board. Crew of the MSC Flaminia include German, Polish and Filipino nationals. Weather conditions on scene were winds force 3-4 with a one metre swell.

See Also

International P&I Issues Calcium Hypochlorite Warning

ITF Pleased On Shipper Reaction to Exploding Reefers

Exploding Reefers: The Vietnam Connection

Contaminated/Counterfeit Gas Danger to Reefers