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Oxygen deficiency in cargo hold kills three

In an incident in May 2014, while the timber cargo on board a general cargo vessel was being discharged, three crew members entered a cargo hold access compartment. It is likely that the second and third crew members entered the space to attempt to rescue their colleagues(s). Another crewman saw one of his colleagues collapse in the compartment and raised the alarm. A frantic rescue operation ensued. During the recovery of the three unconscious crewmen, safety equipment was used incorrectly and inappropriately. The three crewmen did not survive. On investigation it was discovered that although the oxygen level at the access compartment entry was normal, within the compartment it had been depleted, probably by the timber cargo, with levels of 5% - 6% recorded at the compartment deck.

The vessel had no rescue plan or appropriate rescue equipment in place.

Updated 2014-09-11