MCA Confined Space Workshop 24 February

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Jan 192016

Britain’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency, MCA, is holding a workshop on 24 February in London. Says the MCA: “Over 50 years ago enclosed spaces were recognised as a serious risk to seafarers and the cause of many recorded deaths and injuries. Sadly, even now such deaths and serious injuries are still all-too-frequent when almost all of them might be preventable.”

Places are limited to 100.

Presentations and discussions to explore
what more can be done to reduce
the number of fatalities caused by
entry into enclosed spaces.

10am till 4.30pm on Wednesday
24th February 2016

Mary Ward House, 5-7 Tavistock Place, London,

Further information:


Jun 012015

Is there anything remotely ambiguous about the signage on this hatch-cover?  Why did three seafarers ignore them? Unfortunately the report from the Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation on three confined space deaths aboard the German-flagged general cargo ship Suntis does not tell us. Key questions remain unanswered but the circumstances are all too familiar.

Says the report “MV Suntis left the port of Riga in Latvia on 19 May 2014 and reached the port of Goole in the United Kingdom on the evening of Saturday 24 May 2014. The crew was composed of a 67-year-old German master, a 60-year-old German chief officer, and three Philippine seamen (38, 33 and 30 years old). The ship was laden with timber. Continue reading »


Confined Space Death Again – Something is Wrong

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Apr 292015

Something is deeply wrong with an industry in which so many can die so often in tragedies entirely avoidable.  One death, three injured and one escape from a hold containing wood pellets aboard the Polish-flagged bulker Corina this week brings the number of confined space casualties to eleven within the past month. Such losses are unacceptable. Continue reading »


This week’s podcast replay: The Case of the Tablets Of Love

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Apr 272015

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

Listen To The Podcast

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.

Continue reading »


Sally Ann C Sparks Nautilus Outrage On Confined Space Deaths

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Apr 102015

Following the deaths of two ship’s officers aboard the general cargo ship Sally Ann C off the West African coast seafarer’s union Nautilus International has called for the UK to lead a ‘new and concerted drive to end the appalling litany’ of seafarer fatalities in enclosed spaces.

Investigations into the incident – which took place off the coast of west Africa – are underway, but it is known that the chief officer and chief engineer died after entering a hold where timber was stowed and the second officer had to be rescued after losing consciousness when he went to the aid of his colleagues. Continue reading »

Apr 022015

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. Continue reading »


This week’s podcast replay: The Case Of The Lethal Lampshade

 Accident, Accident Investigation, Accident report, confined space, enclosed space, explosion  Comments Off on This week’s podcast replay: The Case Of The Lethal Lampshade
Jan 272015

Three men lay more than a hundred yards from the thick torn metal that once covered the top forward ballast tank, they were dead.

In the gathering darkness, in the roughening seas around the ship, the bodies of four other men were being carried away on the current, three of them never to be found. Inside the gray powder-coated ballast tank, burned and injured one man lived. He would not survive his injuries.

The last sound he heard, if he heard it, before the massive explosion may have been the quiet pop of a light-bulb breaking…

Continue reading »


A Different Kind of Lifeboat Deadliness

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Dec 182014

We are all familiar with, and rather tired of, lifeboat hazards but a safety alert from the US Coast Guard combines that with confined space risks, too. Yes, in certain circumstances a lifeboat can be a confined space.

A Port State Control inspector was on board a tanker to conduct a examination. In anticipation of the examination, the crew opened the hatch to the freefall lifeboat to let it air out. As the inspector entered the lifeboat his gas meter alarmed and he quickly exited. Upon investigation, it was confirmed with ship’s equipment that carbon monoxide had collected in the lifeboat.

Continue reading »


This Week’s Podcast: The Case of the Silent Assassin

 Accident, confined space, enclosed space, podcast, Podcasts  Comments Off on This Week’s Podcast: The Case of the Silent Assassin
Nov 032014

The Case of the Silent Assassin has become a MAC classic confined space safety lesson.

An excellent live action/CGI video version has been produced by IDESS Interactive Technologies.

Ships are dangerous places for the badly trained, the unwary, the careless. In this case two seafarers were killed by almost nothing.


The Pumpman and the Deckboy

We’ll call them Carlo and Rick. Not their real names but they were real people. Like one in five merchant seafarers around the world they were Filipino. Their forebears served the world’s fleets more than eight centuries ago, So, in a sense, the sea was in Carlo and Rick’s blood when they joined the Sapphire. Carlo was the Pumpman and keen to do his job well and impress the ship’s officers. In his sights, perhaps, was promotion: the ship’s third officer, also a Filipino, had been the ship’s pumpman on his previous tour. Part of Carlo’s duties was to clean the tanks after discharge to make them ready for the next cargo and he constantly worried about whether he’d cleaned them well enough. He talked about his concerns so often that the Italian Chief Officer the chief officer assured him “Don’t worry, we’ll still be friends even if the tanks aren’t clean”. Still, Carlo fretted about his tanks. Tanks, of course, are enclosed spaces and ten months before our story Carlo visited the ship’s library and borrowed videos on safe entry into enclosed spaces. Rick joined the Sapphire in the first week of March 1999 and Carlo seems to have taken the young seafarer under his wing. Like the other crewmen, who were also Filipino, Rick often wore a filter mask when handling smelly cargoes and carried the mask on his belt ready for use. Continue reading »