Feb 212016
 

In this week’s SafeSpace Replay: A ship filled with wheat, a seafarer dead in his cabin, fumigants in the holds but the holds were sealed. Weren’t they?

You might not smell trouble but you might see it coming, even if it wears a mask

 

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Apr 272015
 

You might not smell trouble but you might see it coming, even if it wears a mask

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We’ll call him Danek, not his real name but he was a real person, a Polish able seaman and one of nine crew aboard the 30 years old 81 metre general cargo ship Monika, flagged in Antigua Barbuda. Danek’s cabin is in the forward part of the accommodation which overhangs the aft bulkhead of one of Monika’s two holds by about half a metre. Next to his cabin is the ship’s hospital.

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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 »

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Dec 222010
 
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Hermann Schoening

Sixteen of 21 seafarers have been evacuated from the one-year old  Liberian-registered bulker Hermann Schoening due to phosphine gas leaking from cargo holds into the accommodation block. Phosphine gas is a fumigant widely used on grain carriers and is often generated by aluminium phosphide tablets, nicked in parts of Latin America as Tablets of Love because of their use by suicidees.

An investigation is underway but the scale of the incident suggests that the gas may have entered the accommodation block through the ventilation system. Phosphine gas has been known to enter the bridge and lead to a fatality. In another incident, which is the subject of the MAC podcast “The Case of the Tablets of Love”, the gas entered a cabin through pinholes between the cargo hold and the cabin.

Phosphine gas has a characteristic ‘garlicky’ smell but that may be masked by other odours onboard.

The Hermann Schoening incident is an example of a particular class of incident in which space that would not normally be regarded as confined spaces share the hazard of a confined space due to direct atmospheric linkage.

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Jan 132008
 

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has issued a Flyer reminding the maritime community of dangers associated with fumigated cargo.  Following a recent crew member casualty, it was determined that the fumigant (phosphine gas) leaked from the cargo hold into the adjacent berthing space.  Owners, operators, and masters of ships that carry fumigated cargo are advised to carefully review their fumigation procedures and precautions.

See also

The Case of the Tablets Of Love

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