Jun 132014

Tests showed that when the grill was lit the resulting flames were predominantly yellow. The grill was turned off following the activation of a personal gas detector which indicated that high levels of carbon monoxide were being emitted. Close inspection of the grill showed that the grill’s steel mesh was corroded and holed in several places

Two seafarers died of carbon monoxide poisoning whilst asleep on a fishing vessel in Whitby, which demonstrates that lessons over several years, warnings and alerts have had little impact. Poorly maintained equipment being used for purposes for which they were not designed. refusal to use alarms that save lives, on vessel not designed for people to sleep in lead to tragedy.

In the case of scallop-dredger Eshcol the two seafarers went to sleep tired and cold. doors and windows were closed. Heaters on the vessel did not work so to keep warm the seafarers lit the grill on the vessel’s four-year old cooker which had probably never been serviced. Neither the guidance for the installation of gas appliances on board small fishing vessels nor the cooker manufacturer’s instructions had been followed when the cooker was fitted. The metal gauze in the grill was holed and corroded, causing extraordinarily high levels of CO emissions.

Tests showed that when the grill was lit the resulting flames were predominantly yellow, indicating inefficient combustion. The grill was turned off following the activation of a personal gas detector which indicated that high levels of carbon monoxide were being emitted. Close inspection of the grill showed that the grill’s steel mesh was corroded and holed in several places Continue reading »

Feb 092013

safespaceConfined/Enclosed spaces not only continue to take their toll, says the UK P&I Club, but are on the increase despite recent measures to reduce such incidents. The club has issued a refresher of previous articles and information in its latest Loss Prevention Bulletin to bring entry into enclosed spaces to the forefront of people’s minds in light of recent deaths.

Says UK P&I: “Despite the wealth of information available, many deaths have been caused by seafarers being unaware of, or ignoring the correct procedures prior to entering an enclosed space”.

Two weeks ago, a junior officer died after entering a cargo hold to collect a cargo sample. Despite being warned by multiple crew members of the dangers prior to entry, the officer entered the hold and then exited due to “bad air” inside. The officer then re-entered the hold after a mere five minutes of unforced ventilation. Once inside, he was quickly overcome by gases caused by the cargo and fell unconscious, losing his grip on the ladder and falling. The alarm was raised and he was extracted from the hold by ship’s crew using breathing apparatus and taken to hospital where he unfortunately passed away. No senior officers were aware of his entry to the hold, and the proper SMS procedures had not been followed. Continue reading »

Dec 182012

MAIIF Screen Saver

MAC is pleased to bring attention to a poster and computer screensaver just released by the Maritime Accident Investigators International Forum, an organisation that has done sterling work on confined or enclosed space entry safety.

The message is that following procedures saves lives, a message that still needs to be hammered home.

Right click below and download the poster and screensaver Continue reading »

Apr 102012

The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Board’s latest Safety Digest is, like its predecessors, insightful and informed with a certain British quirkiness that makes it highly readable. Among the accidents and lessons in the first edition of 2012 is an issue lose to MAC’s heart: confined spaces and, in particular, the hazards posed by adjacent spaces.

In this case ‘panting’ during rough weather was involved. It has happened before (See The Case of the Tablets Of Love). In this case, ferrous metal turnings described as ‘steaming’ were loaded into the cargo hold. However, they were presumed to be scrap metal, therefore non-hazardous, as opposed to coming under IMDG Code Class 4.2. Continue reading »

Feb 272012

Beware stringer openings in dark places

It’s too easy to forget that working in a confined or enclosed space can also exposed you to work aloft dangers, too. The Chief Engineer of the Bow Cecil took a step in the dark in a tank and never survived the subsequent fall.

On 8 March, 2010 Bow Cecil was en route from Houston, Texas to Salvador, Brazil. The electrician had, during an assignment in the fore peak tank, discovered a leak in an overboard line going through a tank, a little above stringer 10200, 10,20 m above the keel). The chief officer, the chief engineer and the first engineer decided to carry out an inspection of the leak, and make plans for the repair.

The repair itself would be carried out later.

The procedure for entry into enclosed spaces was followed, and the inspection started.

During the inspection, the chief engineer pointed his flashlight at a flange near the port side shell of the tank, and took a few steps in that direction. He suddenly fell through an opening in the stringer, and landed at the bottom of the tank, about eight meters below. Continue reading »

Jan 012012


Some accidents make one wonder whether Mr. Bean wrote the script. A recent safety alert for the Marine Safety Forum is an example. It could, of course, have been much worse, and did potentially put others in danger.

The MSF safety alert goes thusly, in its own words: “During preparation for tank cleaning onboard a PSV, one of the AB’s fell from the main deck down in starboard methanol tank. The fall height was 4,30 m. The AB was securing the area with blocking (barrier) tape and while moving backwards, he stepped into the tank. The injured person (IP) fractured his femur.

The vessel splanned start tank cleaning later that night, and the deck crew was removing the hatches from the man-holes in the cargo-rail in order to measure the content of oxygen, and ventilation of the tanks below main-deck. In total, 16 hatches were to be opened. After opening each tank, the Chief Officer measured the oxygen, and safety barriers were arranged around each tank. In
addition, a plastic grating was laid over each man-hole.

Continue reading »

Jul 252011

SafeSpace member Jim Nicol of Newslink brought our attention to a video from Singapore’s Workplace SafetyHealth Council with an interesting case study in which a surveyor was found dead after he entered a tank on board a barge. Watch this video and learn what went wrong and what should be done to prevent such tragic incidents.

The WSH Council has a good selection of resources for confined space issues. Check it out here or paste https://www.wshc.sg/wps/portal/confinedSpaceResources?openMenu=1 into your browser.

Click More to watch the video.


Continue reading »

Jul 232011

No situation is so bad that some bright executive can’t make it worse by inappropriate and ill-thought-through responses. One such response is the policy of banning entry into confined spaces entirely. It is a policy, probably imposed by legal eagles to avoid liability rather than increase safety, that has already led to grief in the case of the Viking Islay (See The Case of the Rusty Assassin) and will certainly lead to more.

MAC therefore noted comments by Philip Griffin on the Nautical Institute’s LinkedIn group thread on enclosed space safety that deserve a wider audience.

Rightly, he points out that banning confined space entries by policy, within the SMS, is not managing the issue. He says: “..much to my amazement is being put up by vessel operators. I doubt that this is lawful, but it is amazing that such a policy passes through system accreditation.I am witnessing a significant number of companies taking this approach”. Continue reading »

Jul 222011

Scottish Sea Farms, Loch Crenan. Photo: Scottish Association for Marine Science

Two companies have been fined a total of £640,000 following the death of two fish farm workers on a barge moored at a salmon farm on Loch Creran, Argyll & Bute.

Scottish Sea Farms worker, Campbell Files and engineer Arthur Raikes – employed by Logan Inglis Limited, Cumbernauld – were fixing a hydraulic crane on the barge when they went below deck to find cabling and pipework.

The oxygen levels below deck were very low and Mr Files passed out while Mr Raikes managed to climb back out.  In an attempt to rescue Mr Files, two colleagues, Maarten Den Heijer and Robert MacDonald entered the small chamber below deck but lost consciousness almost immediately.

The three men needed to be rescued by emergency services but only Mr Files recovered, while his colleagues died at the scene.

Following the incident on 11 May 2009, inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered Scottish Sea Farms had not provided suitable information, instruction and training for employees working in the small sealed chambers on the Loch Creran barge or a safe way for them to work.

Logan Inglis Limited had not provided information, instruction or training for their engineers on working in these confined spaces so Mr Raikes was also not aware of the risks he faced on the barge. Continue reading »