Australia’s ATSB has issued the formal report on the death of a sefarer aboard the Ocean Angel.
Worth noting in the report:
“…However, they were not aware of all of the hazards associated with hydrochloric acid.
While the master was able to provide the ATSB investigators with a copy of the MSDS for
hydrochloric acid, the chief mate and the crew were not aware that the document existed.
Furthermore, they were not aware of the essential safety information provided by a MSDS. In fact, they did not know what a MSDS was.
Therefore, had they carried out a formal risk analysis it would have been ineffective because a risk assessment carried out without reference to the appropriate MSDS would have been incomplete.”
Contributimng to the seafarers death:
• The seaman may have been tired at the end of what had been an arduous day’s work in tropical conditions.
• The personal protective equipment that the seaman was wearing, or carrying, may have increased the difficulty he experienced while climbing the cargo hold ladder.
• The seaman may have been distracted as a result of a mixture of perspiration and hydrochloric acid that would have caused irritation to his skin and/or eyes.
• The ship’s crew did not adequately consider all of the risks associated with preparing the cargo holds with hydrochloric acid.
• The ship’s safety management system was not effective in ensuring that the crew carried out a formal risk analysis for the hazardous task of preparing the cargo holds with hydrochloric acid.
• The ship’s crew were not aware of the safety information provided by material safety data sheets.
The official media release reads:
“The ATSB has found that a seaman may have been fatigued when he fell from a bulk carriers cargo hold ladder at the end the working day on 8 August 2007.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation also found that he may have been distracted by the equipment he was carrying and as a result of a mixture of perspiration and hydrochloric acid that would have caused irritation to his skin and eyes.
On 8 August 2007, Oceanic Angel was about three degrees south of the equator and en-route to Dampier, Australia.
After lunch, the crew were preparing the cargo holds for an upcoming salt cargo and, at about 1515, two seamen started work in number three hold. They began by spraying the dirty areas of the hold with hydrochloric acid, starting at the aft end and moving forward along the port side.
At about 1630, they stopped work for the day. One of the seamen made his way to the cargo holds aft ladder and started climbing out of the hold. The other seaman went to the forward ladder to do likewise. When the seaman on the aft ladder was almost at the ladders top platform, about 11.7 m above the tank top, he heard a loud thump. He turned around and saw his colleague lying on the tank top.
The crew mounted an emergency response but the seaman had died as a result of the fall.
At 2300 on 17 August, Oceanic Angel berthed in Dampier. The local police attended the ship and the deceased seaman was taken ashore.
The ATSB investigation found that the ships safety management system was not effective in ensuring that the crew carried out a risk analysis for the task of cleaning the cargo holds with hydrochloric acid. It also found that the crew were not aware of the safety information provided by material safety data sheets.”
Get the full official report here.