Encounters At Sea
Certificate of Merit
DEATH FROM STEAM LEAK
13th Apr 06
This happened on a cargo ship where the Aux. Boiler and economizer were separate and the pump circulates water from boiler to economizer.
Just before arrival at port, one of the flanges in the line from boiler to economizer was leaking as the gasket had broken. After completing berthing, boiler was stopped and the job of changing the leaky gasket was assigned to 3/E and fitter.
Boiler pressure dropped to 0.5 as the circulating valve on boiler for economizer was found leaking. The broken gasket was removed and new gasket was being fitted in its place. A stage was rigged to get access to the work spot as it was at a higher level.
The fitter was wearing a helmet, safety shoes and a safety belt whose safety line was tied to the near bracket. All of a sudden hot water/ steam started leaking through the said flange and hit the fitter's chest and stomach.
3/E was also struck but he managed to move away from the jet of hot water. Fitter was not able to move quickly enough as he was not able to unbuckle the safety belt secured to the bracket.
Later the leakage was stopped and fitter was brought down. He was in a state of shock. His boiler suit was sticking to his skin due to severe skin burns.
The 3/E sustained injury on his left arm and leg. Both were taken ashore to hospital.
Fitter's lungs and kidney were affected and he died after 3 months. The 3/E was in hospital for about 3-4 months but he survived.