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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Seatiger KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 4
source LMIU
type C
volume
material
dead
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Struck by lightning, explosion, on fire, partially submerged Apr 19 1979 outside Port Neches Fire extinguished Apr 20 Refloated September. Sold.


source HOOKE
type C
volume
material
dead
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While completing discharge of her cargo of crude oil in the River Neches at Nederland on April 19, 1979, the 123,692 dwt Liberian motor tanker Seatiger was struck in No 3 tank by a bolt of lightning at 10 pm during a heavy thunderstorm, which set of a series of explosions followed by fires. The vessel was toally engulfed in flames, her starboard side and deck being ripped open amidships. Two of her all-Italian 33 man crew died. CTL but eventually became Overseas Boston.


source Fairplay, 1986-03-27
type A
volume
material
dead 2
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On April 19, 1979 the crude carrier Seatiger was alongside the Sun Oil terminal at Nederland Texas. The ship had completed cargo discharge and had started ballasting for sea.

However, a thunderstorm developed. Fifteen minutes later the ship was struck by lightning which ignited cargo vapour at the vent riser. The flames traveled back to the cargo tanks. Seatiger was rocked by a series of explosions which killed two crew members. In this case, the ship's IGS was not used during discharge as there were faults in the automatic tank gauging system. Taking manual ullages would have caused some inconvenience.

Every cargo tank was seriously damaged by either explosions or the fire that followed. The damage was so severe that, had the incident occurred at sea, the ship would almost certainly have jack-knifed and sunk within seconds. As it was she merely settled into the mud, to become a total constructive loss.

This case is clear cut: the destruction of Seatiger would not have happened if the IGS had been used, However, to other factors contributed to disaster. The P/V valve by-pass had been left open -- permitting vapours to continue escaping and allowing a clear flame passage to the tanks.

Even more importantly, the flame arrester had been fitted upside down with gaps up to 1/8th of an inch around the edges. This effectively destroyed the primary flame barrier.


source CTX
type D
volume
material
dead 2
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NTSB report is "Liberian Tank Vessel Seatiger, Explosion and fire, Sun Oil Terminal, Nederland Texas" NTIS PB81-100372. CTX has not yet seen the NTSB report, but the Fairplay cause sounds credible. Even if the auto-gauging system were working, the results are not accurate enough for cargo surveyors, forcing the ship to turn off IGS and open up ullage lids at the end of discharge. Modern tankers are fitted with closed gauging systems which avoid this.