Always check and verify, after private contractors have carried out work on your ship. The Nautical Insititute gives this advice in its latest Mars Report, in which safety pins were left in a fixed CO2 system.

The Nautical Institute gathers reports of maritime accidents and near-misses. It then publishes these so-called Mars Reports (anonymously) to prevent other accidents from happening. A summary of this incident:

A vessel underwent a routine firefighting equipment survey. All equipment was fully inspected, and any faults or non-conformities were apparently rectified. The fixed CO2 system had reached its ten-year service life interval, so the flexible hoses were renewed and replaced.

In order for the survey to be conducted in a safe manner, the safety pins were inserted on the cylinder activators before the survey began. After the survey, the pins should have been removed from the activators to make the system ready for use. Unfortunately, the contractor left them in place, and the crew did not immediately notice this misstep.

Almost four weeks later, a regular crew change took place, and the new officers made a routine inspection of the vessel. During this inspection, it was noticed that the safety pins were still in place. The pins were removed to ensure the CO2 system would function as required if needed.

Also read: Smoke but no fire, yet indications of weak safety culture on LNG vessel

Advice from The Nautical Institute

  • Work is only complete when the isolations are removed, and the permit can be closed.
  • Never assume that all will be well after private contractors finish a job. Assumption is the pathway to undesired events. Always check and verify. It is your ship.
  • Fresh eyes can often see a dangerous condition that was in plain sight. Do a round of your vessel and ask yourself ‘Am I using “fresh eyes”?

Also read: Major shipping carriers target cargo fires and losses together

Mars Reports

This accident was covered in the Mars Reports, originally published as Mars 202305, that are part of Report Number 364. A selection of this Mars Report was also published in SWZ|Maritime’s March 2023 issue. The Nautical Institute compiles these reports to help prevent maritime accidents. That is why they are also published (in full) on SWZ|Maritime’s website.

More reports are needed to keep the scheme interesting and informative. All reports are read only by the Mars coordinator and are treated in the strictest confidence. To submit a report, please use the Mars report form.

Also read: Ship fires not decreasing and still a major cause of total loss