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SHIP NAME: American Eagle KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 6
source LMIU
type C
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Explosion, hull cracked during heavy weather Feb 26 1984 approx 180 miles SW of New Orleans Broke in two, sank Feb 27 in 27 49 N 90 45 30 W. Six dead, two missing


source HOOKE
type C
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While on a ballast voyage from Savannah to Galveston, an explosion occurred in way of Nos. 2 and 3 tanks of the American steam tanker American Eagle, about 180 miles SW of New Orleans in lat 27.30N, long 90.31W on February 26, 1984. Three men died as a result while another three had to flown to hospital by helicopter,

The blast was so severe that the forward section of the tanker was lifted out of the sea, causing the hull to crack, leaving her without power.

Then following a further explosion, the American Eagle broke in two, and sank in lat 27.49N, long 90.45W on February 27. Of the 24 men remaining on board, another three died in this second blast while two more died after jumping overboard with the 21 survivors. They were struck by searching supply vessels.


source USCG
type D
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dead 7
link http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/moa/boards/ameagle.pdf

Amflag tanker in ballast from Savannah to Texas. Crew was cleaning 3C, most recent cargo gasoline using steam. USCG thinks static electricity from plastic sleeve was source of ignition.


source Static Electric Discharge Hazard, On Bulk Oil Tank Vessels, Phase 1 Report, Michael G. Dyer, DTS-73, The Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
type A
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3.2 AMERICAN EAGLE (26, 27 February 1984)

The AMERICAN EAGLE, sailing in ballast, exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico with the loss of four lives. The NTSB concluded that the most probable cause of the explosion was the use of a steam powered air ventilator fitted with a long plastic sleeve in a non-gas free tank.

The ship had been carrying No. 2 fuel oil and gasoline. The tank in question had been washed, but not gas freed; an explosive mixture in the tank was possible. The probable cause of ignition was an incendive spark between the tank structure and charged steam condensate falling from the plastic sleeve through which the air was being driven.

The crew was unaware of the clear warning in ISGOTT against the introduction of steam into potentially explosive atmospheres. The use of non-conductive material contributed to the accumulation of static charge.

As a result of the accident, NTSB recommended that CG-174, "A Manual for the Safe Handling of Flammable and Combustible Liquids and Other Hazardous Products", be revised to thoroughly address static electricity hazards on tank vessels.


source Fairplay, 19860327
type A
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American Eagle, another elderly US tanker, was in ballast when she exploded off Louisiana. Five crew men died, nine other were injured and two were missing, presumed dead.

American Eagle lacked IGS. Once again disaster may well have been avoided if IGS had been in use. In addition, the guidance of ISGOTT was not apparently heeded. This is a common feature of many tanker casualties.

While the blast caused severe structural damage to American Eagle, at first her stability seemed unaffected. However, she later broke up while being towed away from nearby oil platforms.

The ship was tank cleaning when she exploded. Portable wash machines were in use following the carriage of a gasoline cargo. Gas freeing was by steam driven blowers and a steam drive venturi air mover. While it is not clear what caused No 3 center tank to explode, steam was injected via the air mover into an explosive atmosphere. In all probability, a static electrical discharge -- related to the improperly earthed air mover -- provided the source of ignition.

Following the explosion, there was no structural damage survey. Fire hoses were not led out and no coordinated attempt was made to deal with the emergency. The emergency alarm was not sounded and no muster or check of personnel carried out. There were appalling difficulties in establishing radio communications while the ship's rocket flares were found to be almost useless.


source CTX
type C
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Not sure ship had IGS. USCG required on all ships over 20,000 dwt sometime after 1977, but old ships may have been god fathered.

Modern good practice would almost certainly have avoided this. Tank would have originally been inerted. Then thoroughly blown out to less than LEL, and the hydrocarbons monitored during the cleaning process. Not clear why they needed steam, esp in a gasoline tank.