Never assume that third party contractors will behave safely aboard your ship. Keep an eye on them. That is one of the lessons from Brazil’s investigation into a confined space explosion aboard the Bahamas-flagged tanker Auk Arrow in Rio De Janeiro in August 2010 in which three workers died and six injured.
Cutting and welding was being carried out on scaffolding erected inside the vessel’s No 2 ballast tank in the ENAVI shipyard. Hoses carrying liquid petroleum gas, LPG and oxygen, were connected to a manifold on the main deck and passed through a vent in the ballast tank. On the day of the incident work was stopped from 1700 to 2100 for meals. The hoses were left dangling in the tank. Some 52 minutes after work resumed there was an explosion in the ballast tank. Two workers were killed, seven were hospitalised due to injuries of whom one later died.