Encounters At Sea
Certificate of Merit
SEAWATER VALVES NOT HOLDING, LEADING TO FLOODING
(A case due to complacency and over enthusiasm)
In 1986, I joined product carrier vessel in Kharg (Iran) as a 4/E. This ship was running between Hormoz and Kharg in war zone area. We had two main sea water pumps for steam condenser. One pump’s mechanical seal found damaged and leaking badly. So the C/E decided to do the necessary repairs in the dry dock, because ship was due for dry dock. So the pump was kept as standby.
After 2 months new C/E joined the vessel. C/E wanted to overhaul the pump, but the 2/E told C/E that sea water valves are not holding, but C/E insisted on overhauling the pump. In mooring ship was tied up and both anchors lowered. Ship was fully loaded. At 0900 hrs we started discharging cargo, boiler and COP steam turbine were in operation. One main sea water pump was running. At 0930 hrs C/E and fitter started the work on other pump. They removed the motor, while taking out the pump, they were unable to open two bolts. So the C/E told fitter to cut the both bolts by gas cutting. Around 1100 hrs fitter cut the bolts. The pump came out with force. Seawater started flooding in the engine room. Immediately high and low sea suction valves were shut, but valves were not holding. Bilge level came up very fast. Unable to use emergency bilge suction because the same pump was connected to it.
About 1200 hrs generator stopped because sea water started entering central electric panel in the bottom plat form. All the pumps immersed in the water. Around 1500 hrs complete E/R was flooded and seawater was flowing through aft poop deck. At 1600 hrs salvage ship came to assist us. Divers went down and blocked the low and high sea suction. Both anchors were gas cut. Ship was towed to Karg Island at 2100 hrs.At 2200 hrs a message was received that the port where the above incident took place was bombarded by Iraq.
Lesson Learnt :
When drydocking is due and the company is arranging for it, it is better to postpone such work. The situation could have really been avoided. Ensure before commencing work, that everything is alright and it is quite safe to work