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Precis File
source GISIS
type A
dead 1

On 12 June 2003, the tanker CHASSIRON called at Bayonne, France, to discharge its cargo of petroleum products. At 0500 on 13 June, the tanker departed Bayonne for Donges, France, to load other cargo. Two crew members began to clean the cargo holds. A few minutes after the cleaning had begun on no. 6 port and no. 6 starboard holds, in which 98 unleaded gasoline had previously been loaded, a loud whistling noise was heard just before three instantaneous explosions and a fire. An initial explosion occurred in no.6 starboard cargo hold, followed by an explosion in no.6 port and then in no. 5 port. The crew member who was in the vicinity of the no. 6 cargo holds was killed. The other crew member at the loading/unloading manifold, located midship and forward of the no. 6 cargo holds, was unharmed. No. 5 port and no. 5 starboard cargo holds were also damaged as a result of the explosion. The deck between the superstructure and the manifold was completely destroyed. The fire was brought under control within an hour. The tanker was permitted to return to Bayonne for repairs.

The levels of hydrocarbons and oxygen within no. 6 port and starboard cargo holds were within the explosive limits. While it is possible that the source of ignition may have been of a mechanical origin (such as a malfunction of a cargo pump causing an increase in temperature), it is likely that it was the result of an electrostatic origin caused by the cargo pump or washing nozzle.

Issues Raised/Lessons Learned: - Reducing the risk of the formation of explosive gas in the petroleum cargo holds. - Reducing the possibility of ignition sources. - Requiring the fitting of inert gas systems for tankers of less than 20,000 tonnes carrying petroleum products having a flash point not exceeding 60ÂșC.

There do not appear to be any significant human factor-related issues that have directly contributed to the accident.

source CTX
type C

Apparently, the ship was not fitted with IGS. She is under 10,000 dwt, about the size of the Bidwell. 71 years lated IMO still does not require IGS for ships less than 20,000 tons. It sounds like they were using tank washing machines, but we need confirmation.