Hold That Prawn – Check That Barbie

 fire, fire/explosion, maritime safety news, Safety Alerts, safety flash  Comments Off on Hold That Prawn – Check That Barbie
Feb 242016
 

Barbecues are  great way to encourage crew bonding, boost morale, and improve shipboard atmosphere but it’s a good idea to make sure that it’s only the burgers that get burned and not you fellow crew, suggests Singapore’s Maritime & Port Authority, MPSA. The warning was triggered by several recent incidents.

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SafeSpace Replay 2: More ‘Confined space that wasn’t’ incidents

 confined space, enclosed space, SafeSpace, safety flash  Comments Off on SafeSpace Replay 2: More ‘Confined space that wasn’t’ incidents
Feb 162016
 

MAC has already mentioned one example of a ‘confined space entry incident that wasn’t’ , now another example has been highlighted by the International Marine Contractors Association on an offshore installation.

In both cases, crew were enveloped in an oxygen deficient atmosphere, even though they were in the “open air”, while standing over an open hatch/manhole cover to test the confined space below. In both cases a crewmember was rendered unconscious. Although the were no serious injuries, there is still potential for them.

Here’s the IMCA alert:

“A member has reported a serious confined space incident in which a crew member was injured. The incident occurred during quarterly planned maintenance of the leakage detection system in the base of one of the legs of a semi-submersible accommodation unit alongside fixed production platform.

“A crew member lifted the manhole cover to gain access to the tank to undertake planned maintenance.

The crew member was working next to his supervisor who began to lower gas sampling equipment into the tank as part of normal pre-entry checks. Within a minute of the manhole cover being lifted, the gas sampling equipment (which was 3m down into the 6m height of the tank) gave an alarm, and the crew member lost consciousness.

“Subsequent gas sampling during the investigation was undertaken and recorded unexpectedly high levels of hydrogen. The presence of hydrogen can be explained by the electrolytic reaction between the sacrificial anodes and the steel within the ballast tank below the tank being worked upon.

“The crew member who lost consciousness recovered fully with no residual ill health effects.

The company involved made the following recommendations:

  • Vent ballast tanks regularly in order to prevent hydrogen build-up;
  • Ensure appropriate steps are taken to purge gases from ballast tanks prior to tank opening;
  • Using appropriate equipment, conduct tests for the presence of hydrogen before tank entry;
  • Remain mindful of the potential for build-up of hydrogen in ballast tanks where sacrificial anodes are used;
  • Review gas sampling procedure.”
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Can You Trust Your GPS?

 GPS, Safety Alerts, safety flash  Comments Off on Can You Trust Your GPS?
Jan 202016
 

Do you know what equipment relies upon the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) signal?  How would you respond if you lost the signal? asks an advisory from the US Coast Guard.

This past summer, multiple outbound vessels from a non-U.S. port suddenly lost GPS signal reception.  The net effect was various alarms and a loss of GPS input to the ship’s surface search radar, gyro units and Electronic Chart Display & Information System ECDIS, resulting in no GPS data for position fixing, radar over ground speed inputs, gyro speed input and loss of collision avoidance capabilities on the radar display.

“Fortunately, the vessels were able to safely continue their voyage using radar in heads up display, magnetic compass and terrestrial navigation.  Approximately 6nm later, the vessels’ GPS units resumed operation.  Although the vessels had back-up systems to allow a safe transit, the consequences could have been severe.”
These types of events highlight the potential detrimental impact to navigation caused by GPS interference or jamming and the importance in understanding how your vessel’s or facility’s equipment could be impacted by a loss of GPS signal.

Positioning signals may be impacted by interference from both natural and human-made sources.  The most common types of interference are reception issues, usually due to bad installations, poor antenna positioning or faulty equipment.  Jamming devices (https://transition.fcc.gov/eb/jammerenforcement/fccdhssj.pdf), while illegal in the U.S. and a threat to safety, have been used for nefarious or deceptive purposes.

Interference can also be unintentionally caused when operating GNSS in close proximity to other radiating devices,
such as amplified TV antennas (see our Safety Alert 11-02).  Therefore, it is important to remember to use all available means for navigation and maintain proficiency so you can still navigate should your primary GPS fail.

Indicators of positioning systems interference include an intermittent signal, no signal, or an incorrect signal. Suspected or suspicious disruptions should be reported immediately.  Critical information to take note of during a disruption event includes location, time, and period of outage.

Commercial operators are reminded, should your navigation or other equipment onboard, such as AIS, be impaired as a result of a disruption or interference, this should be reported to the nearest U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port,
District Commander or Vessel Traffic Center as soon as possible; and, await
further directions (per 33 CFR 164.53).

All operators should be aware, vigilant, and immediately report GPS disruptions to the U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center (NAVCEN).  The report will be disseminated to the U.S. Air Force GPS Operations Center and the Federal Aviation Administration in an attempt to identify the problem and correlate with any other GPS incidents in the same general geographic location.  Depending on the severity of the report, NAVCEN may refer it to
law enforcement and/or other federal agencies for further investigation.

Download safety advisory

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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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Apr 012015
 

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. Continue reading »

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Is Your Capstan Full Strength?

 Accident, anchor, Offshore, safety alert, Safety Alerts, safety flash  Comments Off on Is Your Capstan Full Strength?
Mar 172015
 

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:

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Feb 132015
 

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. Continue reading »

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Beware Dodgy HRUs

 Safety Alerts, safety flash  Comments Off on Beware Dodgy HRUs
Feb 122015
 

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.

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Dec 142014
 

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.
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