This Safety Alert addresses safety issues relating to air receivers on Uninspected Towing Vessels
(UTV), but may apply to air receivers on any vessel.
Air receivers, regardless of specific use onboard a UTV, contain extreme amounts of potential energy; an uncontrolled release of this energy may lead to serious injury, death and catastrophic vessel damage. Although this issue involves basic safety and good marine practice, too many related problems have been recently discovered.
Not long ago, an air receiver unexpectedly ruptured with terrible results onboard an UTV on the Upper Mississippi River. A crewmember was seriously injured and paralyzed. Several causal
factors were noted during the casualty investigation; the lack of a relief valve to protect the system and significant corrosion within the receiver. It’s important to note that on unprotected systems, all it takes for the system to be over-pressurized is for the compressor’s pressure switch/contactor or unloader to fail and not shut off the machine. Further, internal corrosion on aged tanks present a latent unsafe condition and may go unnoticed if not inspected.