Fumes in Accommodation

31st October 2010

Fumes in Accommodation

Initial Report

Report Summary:

A passenger on a cruise vessel reported that his enjoyment of the cruise had been marred by bunker oil fumes which had entered his cabin, emanating from the cleaning of a bunker tank for maintenance and also from a bunkering operation. The problem lasted for some days. The passenger was eventually transferred to another cabin. The passenger was concerned about the health aspects.

CHIRP Comment:

CHIRP contacted the company’s manager responsible for HSE compliance. The manager followed it up with the vessel. The ship’s staff had ascertained that fumes had entered the accommodation through an inspection hatch in the air conditioning trunking which was inadvertently open. Once the hatch was replaced, the issue was resolved.

The company advised that in future all the air conditioning trunking hatches will be checked prior to any work involving fuel tanks is undertaken and the passenger accommodation will be carefully and frequently checked. This control measure has been added to the Workplace Risk Assessment which is read in conjunction with the relevant Permits to Work prior to any work commencing. The Company emphasises that these matters are taken seriously and every effort is made to uphold Health and Safety and good industry standards. The Company had already apologised for the inconvenience caused.

This report highlights the importance of urgent attention to determining the cause of fumes or smells in the accommodation. The lessons of the tragedy in 1992 in which two children died in the cabin of a ferry, having been overcome by hydrogen sulphide from the ship’s sewage system, must not be forgotten.

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