STI WINNIE: Report reveals lack of warning signs resulted in electrician’s fatality

Electrocution onboard the vessel STI WINNIE
Electrocution onboard the vessel STI WINNIE

The Republic of the Marshall Islands has released an accident report into the fatal injury of an oil tanker electrician, who was electrocuted onboard the vessel STI WINNIE.

On 2 May, 2019, the oil tanker STI WINNIE, owned by Scorpio Marine Management, was sailing in the Arabian Gulf with a final destination the Ras Laffan, Qatar. While the electrician of the vessel was trying to maintain the inert gas (IG) scrubber pump starter panel, he was exposed to high volumes of electrical energy and lost his life.

The crew members found the electrician lying with his head and his hands inside a local group starter panel (LGSP) cabinet. They immediately provide him first aid, but there was no pulse and he was declared dead. Although investigators couldn’t determine the exact factors that caused the fatal accident, they assumed that the electrician touched the live 440 volt (V) power terminals while trying to set right a dropped contactor spring and cover locking pin.

After the incident, the personnel informed the vessel’s company and the local authorities. The UAE authorities examined the causes and found that the dead man had electrical burns to his hands and forehead due to electrocution.

Conclusions
Some of the findings following the investigation included:
– failure to de-energize the 440 V electrical input in the LGSP cabinet’s lower section, before attempting to recover the contactor spring and cover locking pin;
– failure to follow the Company’s SMS regulations with regards to work planning, pre-task hazard identification, and Permit to Work procedures;
– no clear communication between the Electrician and 1AE regarding the commencement of the maintenance of the starter panel;
– ineffective onboard implementation of the Company’s Stop Work Authority policy when the 1AE failed to ensure the electrician complied with the SMS requirements before working on the pump starter contactor;
– no physical barrier within the LGSP cabinet to separate the upper section (which contained the IG scrubber pump starter contactor) and the lower section (which contained the 440 V power terminals);
– no fixed guard covering the exposed 440 V power terminals, within the lower section of the LGSP cabinet;
– and no warning label on the cover of the LGSP cabinet’s lower section, containing the 440 V power terminals.

Actions taken
After the fatal injury, the Company implemented the following safety actions to prevent a future repeat:
– Sent a safety bulletin to all of their vessels informing the personnel about the circumstances of the incident.
– Examined all of their vessel’s high-voltage electrical panels, ensuring that adequate warnings were posted.
– Examined their vessel’s electrical cabinets to make sure that adequate physical barriers and guarding were in place.
– Implemented a system to prevent access to high voltage panels, without proper authorization, in every ship.
– Arranged an internal ISM review of oil tanker STI WINNIE, to ensure that the procedures contained in the SMS were properly installed onboard.
– Updated additional requirements for Electricians, such as SMS procedures relating to unplanned work, pre-task risk assessments, Permit to Work, and crew training matrix.
– Edited the Company’s procedures to ensure that Electricians are included in shore side crew training seminars.
– Conducted a review of the maintenance intervals for all starters to ensure they accurately reflected the needs based on frequency of use and power drawn.
– Kept the Master C/E, and 1AE well-informed on the results of the Company’s investigation before assignment to their next ships.
– Shared the incident’s lessons learned with all ships in the Company’s managed fleet and other interested parties.
– Review the lessons learned during future crew training seminars, safety officer training courses, and pre-joining briefings.

Download the report: Republic-of-the-Marshall-Islands-STI-WINNIE-Casualty-Investigation-Report

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