Mumbai, Monday, March 10th, 2003

On one of the dredgers I worked the dredge pump was opened up for overhaul. Before opening the pump, main sea suction v/v was shut, the wedge piece removed and a blank flange inserted on the pipeline.

After the dredge pump was overhauled the wedge piece was to be put in place. As the wedge piece was being put in place, suddenly the sea suction value opened and sea water started gushing in to the pump room through 800 mm dia pipelines.

The hydraulic pump and motor for the hydraulic system which was located in the pump room bottom most platform got submerged causing total hyd. System failure due to which the main sea section could not be closed.

There was total panic in the P/Room and within 4 to 6 hours the dredger went down. As this occurred when the vessel was alongside there was no loss of life.

Investigations failed to find out who operated the main sea suction valve or caused the valve to open.

This accident and loss of dredger could have been avoided if the hydraulic lines to the hydraulic cylinder for the main sea suction valve had been disconnected and dummy plugs inserted before the dredge pump was opened up for overhaul.
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