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Cargo hose disconnection - Personal Safety on Chemical Tankers

Hose disconnection and checks of the line must be carried out with extra awareness, especially when handing toxic chemical cargoes. Crew training in cargo hose disconnection is important including – Personal Safety on Chemical Tankers.

The correct PPE must be worn, and the MSDS for the specific cargo. Connection and disconnection must be supervised by an Officer to ensure all safety procedures are being followed.
Cargo hose connection
Fig: Cargo hose connection area

Incident of a contained spill onboard a Chemical Tanker

Brief account of Event:
The vessel was engaged with mandatory pre-wash of cargo MARPOL Annex II Cat “X” – Benzene. On completion of the pre-wash, the hose was blown by air into the barge. The hose provided from the slop barge was connected to ship’s hoses and the connection was approximately 2.5 metres below manifold level.

The Pumpman decided to open a drain cock at the manifold to verify no water and pressure was left in the line, however the line was not completely blown and a cargo/water mixture sprayed on to his arm sleeve. This mixture also spilled on to the deck.

What Went Well:

The Pumpman took an emergency shower on deck and was examined by the duty officer to ensure there were no chemical burns on his skin. His boilersuit was removed outside of the accommodation and sealed in a plastic bag for proper disposal.

What Went Wrong ( Critical Factors ):

1) The persons involved in hose disconnection must take in to consideration that air blowing for a set period of time may not be sufficient to declare the line free of residues and act accordingly. In this case the Pump man opened the drain too early. He did not check the pressure gauge prior to hose disconnection.

2) There was no direct supervision – officers were preoccupied with completing departure checks as the pilot was on his way to the vessel.

3) Inadequate Leadership : No cargo specific instructions given by the Master or C/O in respect of handling Benzene as required by the MCS Circular 1095 (Min safety standard – Benzene).

4) The Pumpman did not wear the correct PPE, Chemical Goggles, during hose disconnection. The consequences of a corrosive cargo splash would have been much more serious as compared to toxic one in this case.

5) Ships’ Risk Assessment did not reflect all requirements of IBC Code for Toxic cargo and preventive measures.





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Following reference publications provide useful guidance and international regulations for carrying hazardous chemicals at sea.



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