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.
Given the enthusiasm displayed by lifeboats to fall off their hooks with depressing regularity one would hope that fitting a fall prevention device, FPD, to a lifeboat during drills is regarded as good seamanship these days. On the other hand one that is not properly arranged is not going to do its job, as a safety alert from Marine Safety Forum, MSF, explains.
An MSF member reports that during hoisting of a starboard lifeboat, it reached the upper deck, it was noticed that the FPD was not properly secured or attached to the lifeboat.
As always CHIRP’s latest Maritime Feedback, provides a rich crop of incidents, hazardous conditions and poor practice that haven’t yet caused a accident but which could if left unreported and unresolved. Over the years MAC has become well aware that major accidents are often long preceded by small, unreported events and conditions that no-one thought very important, often a symptom of larger safety issues.
MAC does have to declare an interest – he is on of 15 Ambassadors for the CHIRP/NI MARS Joint reporting programme despite the risk that reporting appropriate cases to CHIRP may reduce the number of accidents we have to report.
Ensure that the safe working load, SWL, of a capstan is greater than the rated pull of the capstan, says a safety alert from the International Marine Contractors Association, IMCA, following an incident aboard one of its members’ vessels. If the capstan does not stall before the wire fails the resulting parting of the wires can cause horrifying injuries.
Due to the company’s clear deck policy nobody was at risk but similar policies may not be in force, or practical, under other circumstances.
Says the IMCA:
Investigations into the 11 December 2014 engine room fire aboard Oceania Insignia continue into the engine room fire aboard the cruiseship Oceania Insignia which cost three lives but the US Coast Guard has already issued a safety alert. It highlights maintenance issues and the important of having a personal evacuation plan.
Marshall Islands-flagged, the 50,000 gt Insignia was built in 1998. The vessel was refurbished in 2014 and, says Oceania: “has undergone a multimillion-dollar transformation to create a virtually new ship”.
Says the USCG safety alert:
Everyone knows, or should know, that rags contaminated with certain types of oil can self-ignite,or spontaneously combust, in places like waste bins but freshly-laundered tea-towels can also do so and lead to a galley fire warns a safety alert from Marine Safety Forum.
A night watchman on a vessel was carrying out his usual tasks and after washing the galley tea towels, they went into the tumble dryer. Once finished approximately 20 tea towels were stacked in a pile and placed on top of the galley freezer.
MAC has raised warnings about the hazards of counterfeit safety-critical equipment in the past, including copycat Hammar HRUs but another danger is expired equipment which has been ‘refurbished’ and put on the market. CM Hammer, manufacturer of hydrostatic release units, HRUs, has now issued a warning regarding the dangers of such refurbished equipment being sold as new units following an alert by the UK’s Marine & Coastguard Agency, MCA.
If it ain’t broke fixing it may break it is the message from the US Coast Guard in a safety alert regarding embarkation hull ladder magnets after a State Pilot fell suffered concussion as he was boarding a vessel using its pilot ladder. In this case the modified magnet arrangement disconnected, fell, and hit the pilot on the head.
It wasn’t the first such accident to be caused by a modified magnet arrangement. Other incidents with injuries have occurred on other vessels at several different ports, says the USCG. In each instance the hull magnets were modified prior to the accident. Moreover, in all cases, after restoring the hull magnets to their original design no further problems were experienced.
Several Detroit Diesel engines have unique couplings which connect the heads on each side of the engine, a male-to-male threaded variable length couplingwhich lengthen when their ends are threaded into the heads. Following a fire aboard a passenger vessel the US Coastguard has issued a safety alert warning againstreplacing the couplings with ones which are not designed for use with the engines.
Recently, a fire occurred on a passenger vessel operating about a mile offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. A crewmember, while making a round in a machinery space, noticed that a small fuel spray fire had developed above one of the four propulsion engines. The crewmember vacated the space and informed the bridge watch. Subsequently, proper emergency procedures were followed, ventilation to the machinery space was secured, and the CO2 via the fixed fire fighting system was released. Fortunately for the 174 persons onboard, the fire was quickly extinguished without incident or additional complications. Although the investigation is not complete, USCG has issued an alert.