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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Heng San KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 3
source LMIU
type D
volume
material
dead 7
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Had explosion and fire in cargo tanks in the Arabian Sea, in 13 47 N 68 30 E, 11 Jun 2001 Broke in two and aft sank 12 Jun 38 of the 45 crew rescued Bow still afloat in 14 50 N 72 38 E 20 Jun Tug on scene. 7 dead Bow sunk by Navy in 14 49.8 N 73 11.2 E 21 Jun.


source FSI12
type D
volume
material
dead
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FIRE AND EXPLOSION HENG SAN OIL TANKER SINGAPORE 122270 SINGAPORE 12/06/2001 Event During tank cleaning operations while at sea, the crew was ventilating a tank using two steam-driven fans connected to duct hoses leading to the bottom of the tank. A third fan which was driven by compressed air was in place and rigged with the ducts but was not being used. In the early morning after several hours of ventilating, flames were seen shooting out of the tank followed by a series of explosions. The fire was extinguished by the crew in approximately 3 hours; however the vessel suffered serious damage. That evening, the crew realized the vessel was breaking in two and abandoned ship using the two lifeboats. Two crew members were inadvertently left onboard. In response to the distress, two vessels picked up the crew from the lifeboats. Two crew members lost their lives while boarding the ladder. during recovery operation in rough sea condition. Several ships searched the area but the four missing seamen were not found.

Causes The crew had completed washing another tank without incident and had used the inert gas system as prescribed in procedures. During this tanking cleaning operation, the IG system was not used and it could not be determined why because the officer in charge was missing. The source of ignition could not be determined. The crew did not take time to prepare for potentially having to abandon ship. The lifeboats were not lowered to the embarkation deck and to verify all was in proper running order. At the time of abandoning ship, a crew member was left on the embarkation ladder because the lifeboat engine was inoperative and they were unable to row back alongside.

Issues raised Human factor In the report, there was nothing to indicate the safety procedures or fitted equipment was inadequate or that the officer in charge was not aware of or did not normally follow them. However, the circumstances leading up to the explosion showed that they were not properly applied or used in this instance indicating that some procedural checks assigned to different crew members could be employed to ensure certain key steps in safety procedures are followed. The need to use lifeboats is never planned and this accident confirms the requirement to continually verify that they are in proper working order. In any operation, the crew must continually assess the risk of an accident. As in the case of the explosion, procedural checks would reduce the probability of the development of a hazardous situation. With respect to the lifeboat, projecting potential consequences of a hazardous situation would have concluded with the need to potentially abandon the ship and to be prepared especially given the fact that such preparations would not negatively have impacted upon the safe operation of the ship.


source CTX
type D
volume
material
dead
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Apparently the tank being purged for cleaning was 4C. What does flag state report mean when it says IGS not operating. They had lots of extra people on board for tank cleaning and maybe repairs. To clean a tank it must be purged, so that tank is necessarily not inerted. And it appears that that was the tank that ignited.

Strange that it ignited in early morning hours. Do they mean before working hours. On top of the four that were lost in abandoning ship, three others were killed including the C/O. Sounds like these 3 were near or in the tank.

Fire burned for 3 hours, but apparently did not spread to other tanks. This hints that there was quite a bit of cargo left in the tank. It also hints that the other tanks were inerted.

DSN picture shows the explosion has blown a big hole in the deck just forward of the cargo hose cranes. The hole extends out to the port gunnel but does not appear to extend down to the waterline. Such damage should not normally sink a pre-Marpol ship in ballast. A pre-Marpol VLCC in ballast is normally in a very low stress situation. Fire is totally out, no smoke. Weather is not that bad, no more than Force 5. Perhaps there was some underwater damage and the 4 across flooded. We need the tank plan.

Flag state report blamed Master for being slow to abandon, instead calling for tugs and helicopters. But going to the life boats is a dangerous process as this incident proves. No one should even abandon until he absolutely has too, especially if there is good reason to believe the ship will survive.

Many unanswered questions. Need to get flag state report. But Ocean Tankers is a very wealthy, very well connected Singaporean shipo owner. CTX will be plesantly surprised if the Singapore report gets to the bottom of this.