Brazil’s Maritime Authority, Marinho Do Brazil, has recommended that the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, should standardise procedures for the “verification, tests and inspections of the artefacts of steam should be standardized by the IMO and not just defined by each classification society in conformity with their own criteria”. The recommendation is made in the authority’s report into the death of a seafarer aboard the bulker Shanghai Carrier on 9 November 2009.
It is believed that an engineering officer on watch opened a drain valve on a steam pipeline too quickly. A water hammer developed which led to the bursting of a drainage tank near the drain valve. The officer suffered burns, resulting from the
direct impact of live and condensed steam accumulated in the drainage tank and, despite being rescued, died later from injuries suffered.
An additional factor may have been a conversion carried out between February and July of 2008, when the pumps used to transfer a cargo of fuel oil were modified to be used as ballast pumps “whose alteration had compromised the safety of the steam system permitting also the involuntary formation of (a) ‘hydraulic hammer’ ”.
Marinho Do Brasil concludes that “the system of drainage of steam of the installation of the ship presented operational
and structural deficiencies that indicate a lack of care with the safety of human life at sea, during the conception of the initial project or, even of the project of conversion.”