Despite all the training and precautions that mariners are required to take onboard a vessel, injuries and deaths that occur in the confined spaces of a ship is still a major safety concern in the maritime industry. A recent tragedy where three persons were asphyxiated while working onboard a laid-up Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU) drives home the fact that more awareness is needed and it prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to issue Marine Safety Alert 04-19.
The U.S. Coast Guard strongly encourages all who work or may be employed onboard vessels in any role, whether senior shipboard officers or crew, riding crew, shore side managers, owners/operators, and other personnel to do the following:
- Obtain the requisite level of knowledge and training of confined space entry procedures including emergency and rescue procedures;
- Ensure crews undergo periodic confined space training and participate in routine and practical onboard emergency drills;
- Verify all required confined space entry and rescue safety equipment is onboard, maintained, tested and fully functional; and
- Continually appreciate the dangers involved in confined space entry and educate yourself by further study.