The global marine cargo handling community is saddened today, upon understanding that a twenty year old longshore worker was suffocated aboard a coal-carrying vessel at the port of Oxelösund, Sweden last Friday night. He succumbed to the effects of that incident the next day (yesterday), while in hospital.
Local news accounts (see media links below) provide information that would have us understand that the worker was seeking access to the vessel’s cargo hold, but in doing so found a below-deck passageway that had accumulated an oxygen-deficient atmosphere and was overcome by it.
This is the latest in a long series of similar accidents, wherein longshore workers and mariners have died owing to oxygen deficient atmospheres and the failure of supervision to adequately ensure that spaces within which workers may enter are free from atmospheric hazards or, in the alternative, are blocked off and posted. Coming in the wake of relatively recent IMO requirements which mandate the availability and use of atmospheric testing instruments aboard internationally trading vessels, these accidents punctuate the need for more circumspect compliance and more stringent control.
Oxelösund is an important port in Southeastern Sweden, known for its sizable bulk cargo trade. Indeed, imported coal and coal products arrive at Oxelösund in large quantities, accommodating the need of local, high quality Swedish Steel mills.
Harbor activities there are undertaken by Oxelosunds Hamn: http://www.oxhamn.se/en/, a full service, operating port authority.
Expressions of sadness are memorialized at the organization’s Facebook page:
As of 0330 UTC Mar 15, MAERSK HONAM and 4-5 tugs engaged in salvage were in vicinity 12 50N 065 19E, some 650 nm off Mumbai India and Oman coast, destination yet unknown, but looking like to be Oman. Maybe India refused shelter for though dowsed, but still dangerous ship. What’s going in and around the ship, is unknown. All concerned are mostly concerned, as of now, about all the claims, disputes and losses, which are following such disasters. All the ideas and projects already said and posted, with regards to fire safety of container ships, sum up to just one – to convert container ship, de facto, into tanker, dividing cargo space into isolated sections, easy to seal and fill with inert gas, or water, or foam. Theoretically and I guess, practically, it’s possible, economically it’s downright impossible. There must be some basically new idea or ideas as how to ensure container ships fire safety.
My name is Mikhail Voytenko, I’m Russian, professional merchant marine navigator, by education and former experience. I own and run Maritime Bulletin website for more than 10 years. I've been involved in solving a number of piracy hijack cases, including the hijack of ro-ro FAINA, loaded with tanks. It was me who made public, and unravel, freighter ARCTIC SEA mystery. I've been also closely involved in a number of maritime disaster, one of them being MSC FLAMINIA major fire.
As of 1230 UTC Mar 16, MAERSK HONAM and tugs engaged in salvage were in vicinity 14 05N 065 14E, slowly moving in northern direction, with port of destination yet unknown.
I already received letters from minor shippers – people don’t know what to do, whom to consult and how much is GA, to start with? Same story as with MSC FLAMINIA major fire, and other such accidents. If anyone can explain to minor shippers, what to expect and what’s best for them, please do, in comments. Or send your expertise to me firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll publish it.
I don’t like major companies, anything major as a matter of fact, because individuals, commons, are dust for them, though it’s a golden dust, but still dust. Majors don’t care. They care for big clients and if it comes to personalities, they react to big names only. That’s the biggest evil of all majors. They’re too big to care for clients. They’re too big for anything human, they’re like bloody movie aliens or terminators – one can’t argue with them, reason with them, shame them or plea to them.
Their CEOs are all alike – well-fed, well-cared, well-dressed bodies topped by identical faces, deprived of human emotions, saying clichés and platitudes, and caring for one thing only – for themselves and their precious careers.
There was a ruling class in Soviet Union, it was called NOMENKLATURA. I invite those interested to read Mikhail Voslyanskiy’s NOMENKLATURA (there’s an English translation) – the most comprehensive study of Soviet ruling class. You’ll be startled by resemblances between Soviet-era Nomenklatura and modern establishment. Sometimes I think I never actually, left Soviet era behind – here I am, all over again, everything is so familiar, from CEOs (Party bosses) to media (Communist propaganda machine).
As of 0800 UTC Mar 18, MAERSK HONAM and tugs engaged in salvage were in vicinity 15 50N 065 15E, slowly moving in northern direction, and looking like they don’t know yet where to take the ship to. Probably, there are problems there we know nothing about, but which problems slow down towage and hamper the final decision on port of shelter. Minor shippers who don’t know yet what to do and what to expect, may find some expertise and advise in comments to this post (see below news text) http://maritimebulletin.net/2018/03/16/maersk-honam-mar-16-update-why-maersk-resembles-soviet-union/ Also, I received a letter today from Singapore-based Marine Survey and Consultancy: Dear Mikhail, We will be glad to provide our expertise for the above mentioned shippers. Kind regards, Capt Rabinder Singh, FICArb MNI UK Class 1 Master Mariner, Marine Surveyor/Consultant Singapore email@example.com Hope it will help.