Feb 112013
A Fuguro Oceanor Wavescan Bouy - hydrogen led to explosion

A Fugro Oceanor Wavescan Bouy – hydrogen led to explosion

Fugro Oceanor has issued a safety alert warning of the dangers of hydrogen-build up inside Oceanor Wavescan buoys following and explosion and fatality off the coast of Malaysia. The buoy exploded while a member of Fugro’s staff was attempting to open it with an angle grinder.

The buoy in question was deployed in August 2010, and visited for cleaning in November 2010. It was reported that the buoy was soiled with bird droppings. At some point after this, the maintenance program for the buoy was suspended. The program was re-established in 2012, and the accident took place on the initial maintenance cruise.

After retrieval onto the service vessel, the buoy was cleaned, and the task of opening the instrument compartment started. This compartment also holds the lead-acid battery packs of the buoy. Access to the instruments is gained by removing a circular lid which is secured by 16 bolts. The removal of the bolts had been completed, except for the last bolt which proved to be seized. The decision was made to free this bolt using an angle grinder. Only moments after applying the grinder, an explosion took place which resulted in the lid blowing open and the instrument modules and their mounting plate being projected outwards with great force. These items struck the Fugro employee, thus causing the fatal injuries. Continue reading »

Mar 282010

Adamandas – DRI hydrogen made her a floating bomb

P&I clubs are circulating an alert regarding the fire and explosion hazards of direct reduced iron. Worries have been increased significantly since the loss of life arising from the carriage of DRI on board the Ythan in 2004 and the deliberate sinking by the French Authorities of the Adamandas in 2003 with her cargo and bunkers on board.

The explosion and accompanying tragic loss of life on the Ythan resulted from the interaction between the vessel’s cargo of “HBI Fines” and the fresh water (moisture) contained in the cargo at the time of loading.  At the time of the incident the IMO Code of Safe Practice for Solid Bulk Cargo (the Code) categorized two types of DRI, namely hot moulded briquettes or hot briquetted iron (subsequently re-designated as DRI (A)), and pellets, lumps etc. (subsequently re-designated as DRI (B)). The DRI/HBI fines cargo could not in reality be categorized as either (A) or (B) under the Code and the expert advice was to treat it as the more dangerous and reactive type of DRI (B).

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