Bulletin No.: 01/1984

Date (Y-M-D): 1984-01-30

Subject: Domestic Propane Fuelled Heating Systems on Non-Passenger Ships

  1. A recent near-fatal asphyxiation of three crew members of a small fishing vessel, which was diagnosed as being due to carbon monoxide gas poisoning, demonstrates the need for careful installation of all fuel-burning systems aboard ships where hazardous exhaust gas may be drawn or leaked into internal ship spaces.
  2. The ship system in which the reported incident occurred was the accommodation heating system and the fuel propane gas; the system was installed,.without the knowledge of the Ship Safety Branch of the Canadian Coast Guard shortly after the ship's last Ship Safety survey, therefore it was not inspected to the satisfaction of a Ship Safety Surveyor in accordance with the Liquefied Petroleum Pas Regulations.
  3. The accident investigation revealed that a fitted gas detector did not sound an alarm as it had been calibrated for gasoline fumes in ship bilges and certain components in the system were not types which would have been approved in accordance with Regulations.
  4. An inadequate exhaust and ventilation system, particularly when the ship's enclosed spaces were closed up due to low ambient temperatures, allowed for incomplete combustion of the fuel and the leaking back of exhaust gases into the crew sleeping spaces.
  5. The problems associated with this incident could equally apply to oil burning systems and to other pieces of equipment such as ammonia absorption regrigerating systems or cooking stoves using oil or gas as a fuel.
  6. Owners and operators, particularly those with a ship where no certificated Engineer officer is required to be carried, are reminded that necessary regulatory requirements must be met for the design, construction, installation and inspection of marine machinery which may affect the safety of the ship and the personnel on board.
  7. Owners of ships with fuel burning systems which they believe may not have been specifically inspected and approved by the Ship Safety Branch are requested to contact their local Regional Managers, Ship Safety Branch of the Canadian Coast Guard in order that necessary inspections may be carried out as soon as possible.

Keywords:                                  Questions concerning this bulletin should be addressed to:

1. Propane
2. Heating System
3. Ventilation
Transport Canada
Marine Safety
Tower C, Place de Ville
11th Floor, 330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8

To add or change your address, contact us at: marinesafety@tc.gc.ca

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