MoUs Target Enclosed Spaces

enclosed spaces

Published Jul 28, 2015 9:33 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Tokyo and Paris MoUs have announced their 2015 joint Concentrated
Inspection Campaign (CIC) on crew familiarization for enclosed space entry.

The aim of the CIC is to ensure effective procedures and measures are in place to safeguard seafarers. This inspection campaign will be held for three months between September 1, 2015 and November 30, 2015.

The ship’s procedures and measures that are in place with respect to enclosed spaces will be checked for compliance with the requirements of SOLAS during regular port state control inspections.

Port state control officers will use a list of 10 selected questions to establish that crew members with enclosed space duties are familiar with relevant equipment and have received training to carry out their duties and identify and understand the hazards associated with entry into enclosed spaces. 

Additionally there are questions aimed at gathering information about the existence of measures in place to test the atmosphere of an enclosed space to confirm it is safe to enter and remains safe whilst people are within the space.

If deficiencies are found, actions by the port state may vary from recording a deficiency and instructing the master to rectify it within a certain period of time to detaining the ship until serious deficiencies have been rectified. In the case of detention, publication in the monthly detention lists of the Tokyo and Paris MoU web sites will take place.

It is expected that the Tokyo and Paris MoUs will carry out approximately 10,000 inspections during the CIC. The results of the campaign will be analyzed and findings will be presented to the governing bodies of the MoUs for submission to the IMO.

Industry Calls for Action

Concern for seafarer deaths in enclosed spaces has been voiced across the industry. In April this year, trade union Nautilus International called for the U.K. to lead “a new and concerted drive to end the appalling litany” of seafarer fatalities in enclosed spaces.

The Union wrote to shipping minister John Hayes following an incident in which two seafarers died in a cargo hold of the Isle of Man-flagged Carisbrooke Shipping general cargo vessel Sally Ann C.

Investigations into the incident, which took place off the coast of West Africa, showed that the chief officer and chief engineer died after entering a hold where timber was stowed and the second officer had to be rescued after losing consciousness when he went to the aid of his colleagues.

In a letter to the minister, Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson said the case followed the very familiar pattern of one crew member collapsing in an oxygen-deficient area and two or more being overcome after entering the space without personal protection equipment in an attempt to rescue their colleagues.

Dickinson said there is evidence to show that more seafarers die or are injured in enclosed spaces than through any other onboard work activity. “Changes in ship design and operation, the nature of cargoes, the increasing amounts of chemicals being carried, along with reduced manning levels and radical changes in crewing practices are all factors which have driven the increase in such incidents,” he said.

The CIC questionnaire is available here.