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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Emilia Theresa KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 2
source GISIS
type A
dead 0

Vessel had completed loading a cargo of benzene into 12 cargo tanks. Near completion of loading the vessel was boarded by a cargo surveyor (CS). The pumpman observed the CS taking samples from the aftermost tanks and working forward. Approximately 25 minutes after the last tank was loaded an explosion occurred and fire developed near the forward part of the cargo area. A general alarm was sounded, the foam extinguishing system activated and the fire was extinguished in several minutes by the Master and another crew member using deck monitors. The No. 1 port cargo tank lid was blown off and other superficial damage was noted on nearby structures and pipework. The cargo surveyor was injured, provided first aid, and removed by an ambulance.

A static charge had developed in the cargo tank prior to the explosion and had not dissipated in the twenty minutes which elapsed since topping off. The CS used a metallic can attached to a man made fiber rope to obtain samples which facilitated a discharge of static electricity within the tank and resultant explosion. The CS was unknowledgeable as to risks associated with the equipment he was using and had not followed shipboard or other established procedures. Vessel crew members did not confer with the CS as to his methods and equipment used to sample tanks.

There are no assurances that shore based service providers like cargo surveyors may understand the risks associated with their activities, nor may their operation and safety procedures be adequate for a particular vessel or cargo. A brief inquiry by a competent vessel deck officer into the surveyor’s methods and equipment used during sampling may have revealed inadequacies and prompted the use of safer methods and equipment.

The general workload and responsibilities of the Chief Mate while completing the loading process may have contributed to his inability to note the surveyor’s methods and equipment. Had he done so, the casualty could have been prevented. The CS failed to recognize risks in the methods and equipment he chose to use.

source CTX
type D
volume N

Remarkable, that they were able to contain this benzene fire. Inerted?