New measures proposed following accident caused by leaking hatch covers

Swedish P&I Club makes new proposals following an accident caused by leaking hatch covers
Swedish P&I Club makes new proposals following an accident caused by leaking hatch covers

The Swedish P&I Club has issued its Monthly Safety Scenario for February 2016 that relates to an accident caused by leaking hatch covers. As a result it recommends preventive measures.

About the accident
The vessel comprised loaded up wire coils. When loading was complete the crew taped across the transverse beams of all the cargo holds with Ram-Nek. During the vessel’s transit it sailed through heavy weather that lasted for about two days. During this time the vessel was pitching and rolling and the cargo hatches were covered in water.

While discharging in port it was found that the steel coils in the top tiers were corroded. The steel coils below the centreline and folding seams were the most affected.

A surveyor in attendance observed that the cargo hatch covers were not in an adequate condition. The greatest amount of rusted coils were in holds 1 and 3. The surveyor tested the water integrity of the cargo hatch covers with an ultrasonic device which detected significant defects to the sealing arrangements. The gaskets were in poor condition and the hatch covers tested positive for chloride which indicates that saltwater has leaked. The non-return valves for the drain channel were also in a poor condition as they were clogged and the ball inside was not moving.

The transverse packing on the hatch covers was leaking and there were some cracked corners and leaking side joints. The surveyor also found a number of leaking ventilation covers.

The consequences
The cargo hatches were in a poor condition, which caused seawater to enter the cargo holds. The gaskets were also in poor condition and the cleats could not be tightened beyond hand tightening.

Recommended preventive measures
It’s strongly recommended to do an ultrasonic test instead of a hose test for testing the cargo hatch covers.
The cargo hatch covers and other essential equipment should be inspected at continues intervals. It is especially important that non-return valves for the coamings are inspected.
These jobs should be included in the planned maintenance system.
The planned maintenance system should also be inspected during internal audits and it should be logged if specific jobs have not been completed.

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