Marshall Islands Issue Enclosed Space Safety Advisory

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Due to a number of recent enclosed space incidents, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) have issued a Marine Safety Advisory (MSA) reminding seafarers of the hazards of enclosed spaces.

The MSA was written as a result of a recent enclosed space entry incident on an RMI flagged bulk carrier which resulted in the deaths of two seafarers and serious injuries to two others. In 2018, there were three enclosed space incidents on RMI flagged vessels. One was on an oil tanker and two were bulk carriers.

Similarities between incidents

The MSA identifies a number of similarities between these and other previous enclosed space incidents which include:

  • The lack of awareness by crewmembers of the potential hazards posed by the improper entry into enclosed spaces.
  • Senior crewmembers failing to ensure that ship management’s enclosed space entry procedures are adhered to prior to directing junior crewmembers to enter an enclosed space.
  • The Master of the ship not being notified that an enclosed space was going to be entered.

RMI’s recommendations

The MSA contains a list of recommendations that ship managers send a notice or bulletin to all their managed ships addressing topics which include:

  • the dangers of improperly entering an enclosed space
  • how to recognise an enclosed space
  • not entering an enclosed space without permission and only to be carried out in accordance with ship management’s established procedures.
  • rescue from enclosed spaces

The RMI also recommends that Masters hold a special safety meeting to review the contents in the bulletin and also review the ship’s enclosed space entry procedures and conduct an enclosed space drill.

The full MSA, which includes an enclosed space entry poster, can be found here.

North’s Hot Spots publication on enclosed spaces can be found here