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Tuesday, June 9, 2020 

The UK P&I Club has launched the latest in a series of training videos, on the importance of following safety procedures when inspecting enclosed spaces.

The animated video depicts a tragic fatality on a loaded bulk carrier during a periodic inspection of a bulkhead stool void space. The chief officer instructed the bosun to open the main deck lid to the vertical access trunk and place a small ventilation fan over the opening. In the meantime, the chief officer completed a ‘permit to work’ in the office.

The chief officer returned and entered to carry out the inspection, maintaining communication via walkie-talkie and using his personal gas meter to check the atmosphere at each ladder platform. Once at the bottom, the chief officer did not report and he failed to respond to the bosun’s calls so the bridge watch keeper was alerted. The bosun entered the access trunk to assist the chief officer, but he too became dizzy and collapsed. The bosun regained consciousness but the chief officer lost his life due to lack of oxygen.

The series of videos provides an interactive training experience with a focus on educating crew members on common marine accidents and how to mitigate the risk of them occurring. Hosted across Thomas Miller websites, the videos are available to view for training purposes by both marine employers and their employees.

Stuart Edmonston, Loss Prevention Director, UK P&I Club, said: “This incident happened because the void space had not been opened for about six months and was not fitted with any natural ventilation. This, combined with the effects of corrosion, meant the oxygen levels were fatally low. Importantly, the correct equipment was not used, nor were the appropriate safety measures in place that would have prevented this accident. Documented shipboard procedures for enclosed space entry should be followed at all times and crew must be alert to the very real dangers that surrounds the procedure. Improving safety standards in our industry is our key focus and the Club hopes these interactive training videos can help improve safety at sea, and reduce the frequency of these preventable and tragic incidents.”

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