Confined/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.
These incidents are not particular to any ship type, crew nationality, rank or age and are caused only by seafarers being unaware of, or disregarding the proper procedures, guidelines and advice.