Encounters At Sea
Certificate of Merit
DEATH IN ENCLOSED SPACE
26th Jan. 06
Following incident took place in one of the vessels where I served as a chief engineer.
Around 1000 hrs in the morning, while the vessel was at sea, a message from the office superintendent requesting some measurements of a vent pipe in a cargo hold was received. The captain passed the same to the chief officer to be verified.
The chief officer after tea time around 1030hrs took a vernier and went into the cargo hold. That was the time he was last seen. He did not turn up for lunch. Nobody took notice of it.
Around 1400hrs the Captain searched for C/O to enquire about the dimensions of the pipe. He could not trace him. A general search was carried out and a cadet found the chief officer was unconscious inside No. 3 hold at the fist landing near the ladder. He was brought out and further examination revealed that he was dead.
Following reasons are attributed to this accident.
1) Even though the Chief Officer was quite experienced and a senior officer, he omitted to consider the closed hatch as an 'enclosed space'. He failed to inform anybody before going into the hatch.
2) The ship was loaded with logs. Cut logs consume oxygen from the hatch resulting in a lack of oxygen. Also prior loading the logs had been treated with some chemicals the details of which were not made available to the ship.