428 - 08/05 - Gas Cutting Incident - Worldwide

A crewmember onboard a Member vessel is lucky to be alive after a recent incident involving gas cutting equipment where the work was thought to be routine and not properly planned. Approximately 35% of the crewmember’s body sustained burns of partial to deep partial thickness, with some full thickness involvement to areas including the face, chest, back, arms and legs.

The crewmember was seriously burnt when using gas cutting equipment after being instructed to replace a length of pipe on the hydraulic line of a hatch cover of one of the vessel’s holds. The crewmember may have shut off valves on the line but failed to drain the pipe of hydraulic oil under pressure. The crewmember decided to use gas cutting equipment to remove the pipe, which when breached covered the crewmember in a spray of hydraulic oil which was subsequently ignited by the acetylene torch, engulfing the man in a ball of fire. The acetylene and oxygen bottles were also in the vicinity.

In a desperate bid to extinguish himself the crewmember jumped overboard into the harbour where he was spotted floating 400-500 metres from the bow of the vessel. An hour and forty minutes later he was recovered to the vessel and airlifted to hospital. The man’s life was saved but he had to undergo several surgeries and remained in hospital for several months.

In this case there was no supervision by a responsible person and no hot work permit. The hot work permit involves risk assessing the work before it is undertaken but this did not happen. A port state control investigation report into the incident expressed concern of the ship's safety procedures and the ISM management onboard, describing serious failures in the vessel’s safety management system.

The vessel was in a condition showing lack of maintenance and it was reported that hatch cover hydraulic system isolating valves at each control station were in poor condition. The obvious attitude onboard and lack of control makes this an accident that was waiting to happen onboard this vessel.


Source of information:

Loss Prevention Department

UK P&I Club

Industry developments

Polar Shipping

Legal, navigational and environmental resources, news and updates on the development of polar shipping. Read more

US VRP Compliance

With effect from 30th January 2014 non-tank as well as tankships calling at US ports will be required to submit VRPs.  For Club and other resources to assist in compliance click here

International Environmental compliance

Environmental Compliance resource page collates material in respect of International environmental compliance issues affecting our Members. Information from the Club, Loss Prevention and external resources has been collated in one place for ease of reference.

MLC 2006

The Maritime Labour Convention enters into force in August 2013 - resources, news & advice on implementation can be found in this dedicated section.  READ MORE

International sanctions

Recent guidance & corresponding material in respect of international sanctions against various countries has been updated with respect to temporary easing of sanctions against Iran.  READ MORE


Essential precautions and preparation against piracy, as well as additional information and resources, loss prevention advisories and useful external web links

Emergency Contacts

If you need to call our offices out of hours and at weekends, click After Office hours for a up to date list of the names of the Duty Executives and their mobile phone numbers. 

Ship Finder

This Ship Finder is updated on a daily basis. Members who need to advise the Club of updates to their recorded ships' details should advise their usual underwriting contact.