Bulletin No.: 16/1992

Date (Y-M-D): 2003-03-12

Subject: Watertight Openings and Their Importance in Maintaining Integrity

1. A recent casualty was partly caused by improper operation and use of watertight closures.

2. A leakage of fuel oil into the hold had been discovered and difficulty had been experienced in pumping out the bilge.

3. In order to drain the accumulation of water and oil in the hold the pipe tunnel manhole cover was removed. At the same time the watertight door between the pipe tunnel and engine room was opened to drain the pipe tunnel into the engine room. This made one compartment out of what was previously two watertight spaces.

4. Although it was not realised at the time, there was hull damage in the hold area, over a period of time the ingress of water increased and since the watertight door was situated in a well it was impossible to close it once the well filled up.

5. Eventually the hold and engine room became flooded, power was lost and the vessel sank.

6. Fortunately there was no loss of life.

7. This episode illustrates the need for masters, chief engineers, mariners and operators to exercise prudence in the use of watertight fittings. These should be kept closed at all times except when it is absolutely necessary to open them to gain access to spaces.

8. Copies of previous Ship Safety Bulletins, 1/83 and 4/87 are annexed for reference purposes.

Keywords:                                  Questions concerning this bulletin should be addressed to:

1. Watertight fittings
2. Manhole covers and doors
3. Flooding
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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