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Author Topic: Engine room explosion - Manhattan Bridge  (Read 1142 times)
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Patalavaca
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« on: January 20, 2017, 06:03:12 am »

Tragically, one crewman died and one has been seriously injured, sustaining severe burns, aboard the Japanese flagged container vessel Manhattan Bridge (IMO 9689615) when vessel sustained a violent engine room explosion during berthing operations at the Port of Felixstowe's Trinity Terminal, about 2310 hrs on Thursday 19 January 2017.

Vessel is currently undergoing investigations to establish possible causes of the explosion, for what I suspect was a main engine crankcase explosion. To be confirmed.

This vessel has had, in the past, a full Philippino complement of crew, from top to bottom.

The vessel is cordoned off at the moment while investigators carry out their work.
Cargo operations are on hold until those investigations have been completed.
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Patalavaca
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2017, 09:17:17 am »

Update:
Apparently the explosion occurred just after the vessel was 'all fast', thus the main engine was not in operation at that moment.
Further reports suggest the incident occurred in the 'boiler room'. If this is the case, it may indicate that the auxiliary boiler was being flashed up (i.e. started - always regarded as the most 'dangerous' time for potential problems in boiler ops) for power in port.
At sea, when the main engine is running, these ships use a waste heat recovery boiler utilising heat from the main engine exhaust.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 11:46:09 am by Patalavaca » Report to moderator   Logged

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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2017, 09:01:14 pm »

BBC news report here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-38687852
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Patalavaca
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2017, 10:05:42 pm »

Update from onboard: First, despite the tragic loss, there has been some dispute taking place between the Port and the vessel. Allegedly, the Port were disputing that the vessel was alongside at the time of the explosion, thus indicating that the fatal accident occurred at sea rather than in the jurisdiction of the Port.

The Port's own website states the vessel was all fast alongside at 2312hrs 19/01.
Media reports state: - 1) The explosion happened in the engine room of the vessel at around 11.05pm.) 2) "Police and ambulance crews were called to the Trinity terminal at 11.45pm to reports one person had died during the incident." I am very dubious that it would have taken so long to inform the Port's own, & the County's, emergency services to attend UNLESS the vessel had yet to berth alongside & this would explain the delay in their physical attendance. Duty engineers/engine room crew, both in the boiler area and the Engine Control Room, would have been instantly aware of the severity of the incident, not least because of the explosion, and without doubt, the control room alarm & monitoring system would be ringing off the wall.
It is normal procedure for the C/E to be in attendance in the ER Control Room during vessel manoeuvres when entering or leaving a port.

A source informed me that the vessel had swung 180 degrees, as normal, and was about to proceed stern-first to berth 7, when the explosion occurred. Thus indicating that the vessel was 'at sea', not alongside. It is mystifying as to how the explosion occurred , but not the why - almost definitely, too much uncontrolled fuel in the boiler combustion area at the time of 'flashing up.' The boiler burner panel was blown completely from the boiler casing and allowed the searing heat of the burning fuel/air mixture to escape into the engine room, which, I suspect caused the fatality and the injury.
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2017, 12:17:41 pm »

Quote
First, despite the tragic loss, there has been some dispute taking place between the Port and the vessel. Allegedly, the Port were disputing that the vessel was alongside at the time of the explosion, thus indicating that the fatal accident occurred at sea rather than in the jurisdiction of the Port.

I am not sure if I understand the point that the Port are making.  If the shipowner's claimed time of 1205hrs and the port's claimed 1212hrs for being made fast are correct (no obvious reason to doubt either) the ship was being manoeuvred onto the berth, and that is consistent with the BBC quote from the owner that the ship "was berthing", rather than "had berthed" - then there appears no dispute of the timing.  Of course the port will have no direct responsibility for the accident itself, but I can only assume that it might be concerned about any liability in relation to the emergency response - or for investigation process.

However, Felixstowe Port is the Statutory Harbour Authority for a strip of the waters, if I remember correctly, running 50m off the berths (beyond that it is Harwich Haven Authority - who do provide the pilotage and conservancy service right up to the quay, on behalf of Felixstowe).  Whether, under the agreement between the two harbour authorities, HHA would have a responsibility for handling (non-navigational) emergencies right up to "made fast" I do not know. 

It is obvious that the pilot and the tug crews would have been instantly aware of the explosion, even if it may have then taken just a few minutes more to understand what had happened.  It will no doubt be clearer when there is some official announcement.
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2017, 01:22:43 pm »

As it is, or was, an alleged dispute, I expect that the issue will be quickly resolved as to 'jurisdiction' of the investigation(s).
The logged times by the various authorities; VTS, Ship's bridge log, engine room log, emergency services and so on will prove, one way or the other, whose responsibility it is.
It remains a tragic occurrence for the deceased's & the badly injured's family.
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