Maritime union calls for action to stop seafarer deaths in enclosed spaces

9 April 2015 (Last Updated April 9th, 2015 18:30)

Maritime professionals union Nautilus International has appealed to the UK Government to take necessary measures that would end seafarer fatalities in enclosed spaces.

Nautilus International

Maritime professionals union Nautilus International has appealed to the UK Government to take necessary measures that would end seafarer fatalities in enclosed spaces.

The union addressed a letter to Shipping Minister John Hayes asking for a ‘new and concerted drive to end the appalling litany’ of such deaths.

Nautilus took action following the deaths of two seafarers in a cargo hold of Carisbrooke Shipping’s vessel Sally Ann C last month.

Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson said in the letter: "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."

"Oxygen meters…positioned at the entrance to enclosed spaces would reinforce to seafarers the potential risks that they face."

Dickinson has requested the UK to lead European and international efforts to develop new approaches to the issue.

According to Nautilus, mandatory training requirements are essential to avoid further incidents.

The union also said that the IMO rules should ensure that all ships carry oxygen meters to ensure the crew can test the atmosphere in enclosed spaces.

According Dickinson, better consideration should be provided during ship design and build stages to address some of the inherent risks.

"We believe that requirements for oxygen meters to be positioned at the entrance to enclosed spaces would reinforce to seafarers the potential risks that they face, as well as providing ready access to information about the state of such spaces," Dickinson added.


Image: Nautilus requests efforts to end seafarer fatalities in enclosed spaces. Photo: courtesy of Nautilus International.