November 23, 2022

Safety Alert High Velocity Vent Valves, Vacuum Valves, P/V Valves USCG Alert

"A recent marine casualty resulted in significant damage to tank structures, piping and components of
a combination chemical / oil product carrier. Vessel-to-vessel loading operations were taking place at
anchorage and one tank became over-pressurized. Subsequently, three cargo tanks and three
ballast tanks on the ship suffered catastrophic structural failures that allowed hazardous cargo to
migrate throughout those areas. This incident caused the vessel to list and created a very dangerous
explosion hazard requiring costly and time-consuming lightering and repair operations. Additionally, it
presented a hazard to the port and persons involved.
The investigation is nearly complete and investigators have identified several causal factors, one being the failure of the high velocity vent valve which did not open and prevent over pressurization of the tank while it was being filled".

Read the safety alert to understand why the high velocity vent valve failed to operate, in this link:

November 19, 2022

IT’S THE SEEMINGLY MINOR ITEMS that sometimes can create a catastrophe. USCG Safety alert

"This is a reminder to owner operators that sometimes it is the most seemingly minor thing such as a
mechanical part or electrical component that can lead to a catastrophe. For example, a nearly 20 year
old bulker was leaving port when its main engine throttle failed. In this case the vessel was able to
drop anchor without incident. The failure occurred because a small drive belt that connected the console throttle lever components to an electrical potentiometer failed. Movement of the throttle causes the
potentiometer to move and creates a variable signal to other controls which manage engine
speed. When the belt failed the control from the engine room console was lost"

Read this safety alert in detail with additional incidents mentioned in this link

November 15, 2022

Overeating Can Create Dangerous Gas! (Especially with Anaerobic Bacteria) USCG safety alert

 This safety alert is very much applicable to us in the CPI. Anaerobic bacteria reside in ETP's.

This safety alert shares important information related to a unique, not very well known and potentially
deadly hazard that recently developed on a vessel involving the formation of dangerous levels of
Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)1 gas within a waste oil tank. This was determined to be due to the use of
biodegradable cleaners and the chemical reactions and resultant H2S byproduct involved in breaking
down oils in an anaerobic (low oxygen) environment like that found in a full slop tank. In this case,
vessel officers had detected significant H2S concentrations (>200 PPM) in the vessel’s engine room
bilge holding tank.The cleaner provided micro-nutrients to the waste water thus causing the bacteria to thrive resulting in increased rates of H2S production.

Read the safety alert with detailed incidents in this link

November 11, 2022

Danger! Improper Bonding During Gas Freeing Can Have Explosive Results! USCG Safety Alert

"During gas freeing operations, cargo tank manway and butterworth openings are opened and the flammable vapors within the cargo tank are then removed using mechanical air moving equipment. As outside air is introduced into the cargo tank, the vapor/air mixture within the tank, and near the tank openings, will fall into the flammable range. During this time, if the air moving equipment used to gas free the cargo tank is not the proper type, is not properly maintained, or is not properly electrically bonded and secured to the vessel’s structure, static electricity generated by the air moving equipment can discharge as an electric arc and ignite the flammable vapor/air mixture".

Read the full safety alert with photos in this link

November 7, 2022

TANK SAMPLING DANGERS / H 2 S Threshold Limit Change USCG Safety alert

"Prior to using portable gas monitoring equipment, personnel should familiarize themselves with
ISGOTT Section 11.8 and safe work practices for conducting or witnessing these tests. ISGOTT
recommends when sampling tanks personnel should stand perpendicular to the wind to avoid being
downwind or upwind and creating eddies".

Read the safety alert in this link


November 3, 2022

Electrical Issues Spark Major Concern – Addressing Hazardous Area Electrical Installations Knowledge Gaps

"The purpose of this Safety Alert is to emphasize the importance of properly installed and maintained
listed or certified safe electrical equipment in hazardous areas in order to reduce the risk of fire or
explosion onboard vessels. The Coast Guard has seen a number of instances where there was a lack
of knowledge in the marine industry as it relates to the installation, training,
maintenance and inspection of these certified systems"

Read the alert in this link

October 30, 2022

Failure of pipeline emergency shut-down valve - HSE UK

 This alert is issued following the failure of a spring return pipeline emergency shut down valve (ESDV). The failure left the primary platform isolation device inoperable with the valve failed in the open position. Other ESDVs have been examined and have found to be at risk of failing in this manner. Spring return valves other than ESDVs are equally vulnerable.

Read the full report in

October 26, 2022

Chloride induced stress corrosion cracking of stainless steel thermowells: Potential for ingress of atmospheric moisture HSE UK

"This safety notice describes a specific degradation mechanism found inside stainless steel thermowells operating where the external atmosphere contains halides, as is typical in coastal locations or near to cooling towers. Thermowells can 'breathe' during normal operation as vessels heat up and cool down, drawing in the external atmosphere through non gas tight fittings. If the atmosphere contains halides this can leave any stainless steel susceptible to Chloride Stress Corrosion Cracking (CISCC). The HSL Research Report 902 (Reference 1) covers the susceptibility of stainless steel to CISCC in some detail and links to other research papers and published documents".

Read the full safety alert in this link

October 22, 2022

Catastrophic rupture of dead-leg pipe-work -HSE UK

"A recent failure on a UK refinery involved an 8" diameter vertical relief line, approximately 5m in length, which catastrophically failed during normal operation part way along its length, releasing approximately 75 tonnes of extremely flammable material at elevated temperature and pressure. Connected to an insulated process header and vessels, the failure involved complete separation of the relief line (which was not insulated).

Subsequent examination of the line revealed excessive internal thinning which was very local to the failure point, but relatively normal wall thickness elsewhere along its length. The inspection regime included regular thickness testing at four locations, but not at the area local to the failure. Notably, an adjacent relief line was also found to have very similar localised and severe internal corrosion, which had also gone undetected".

Read the full incident in this link

October 18, 2022

Failure of a road tanker pressure/vacuum relief valve


"This safety alert is aimed at haulage contractors, users of tank containers and road tankers, companies servicing pressure/ vacuum relief valves and authorised inspection bodies contracted to verify the functioning of these valves.

Tank containers and road tankers used for flammable, corrosive and toxic liquids and gases will normally have a valve fitted to prevent damage to the tank from changes in the internal pressure. Haulage containers used for less hazardous liquids and gases may also have a valve.

Following a road incident in April 2020, investigations by Cleveland Police and HSE found evidence that a pressure/vacuum relief valve, originally manufactured by Fort Vale Engineering Ltd, had been modified by a third party. The valve cap had a nut welded to the top, most likely to allow it to be serviced without the use of a special tool to remove the valve cap. The unauthorised modification prevented the valve’s safe operation"

Read the full report here

October 14, 2022

Catastrophic failure of marine loading arm

 The 8-inch nominal bore, hydraulically operated MLA involved in the incident had been in service for 11 years and had been regularly maintained by various recognised industry contractors. It had a rigid link pantograph balancing system with independent primary and secondary counterweights linked to the inboard and outboard arms. The MLA failed as it was being manoeuvred towards a ship manifold for connection. A section of the MLA fell backwards onto a jetty handrail narrowly avoiding live plant and pipework on an upper-tier COMAH establishment.


October 10, 2022

Stored Energy: Injury Caused by Failure of Expansion Joint in Fire-Fighting Equipment

Stored Energy: Injury Caused by Failure of Expansion Joint in Fire-Fighting Equipment
What happened?
During a trial of fire-fighting equipment, a hose expansion joint or bellows failed. The release of pressurized water hit a crewman who was standing nearby, slamming him backward and knocking him
unconscious. The fire pump was shut down and help was sought. CPR was administered; subsequently the injured person was medevaced.  This incident was considered by our member to be a potential fatality. The injured person was in hospital for some weeks.

What went wrong? What were the causes?
Some identified issues were:

  • There was inadequate management of significant risk;
  • There was no understanding of the life time of the expansion joint or bellows;
  • There was no installation procedure provided for this bellows by the manufacturer;
  • There was no preventive maintenance or inspection/testing of the failed equipment.


What actions were taken? What lessons were learned?

  • There had been a similar rupture of a bellows some years previously; this earlier incident was not investigated.
  • Had it been investigated, it might have helped in preventing reoccurrence;
  • Engineering and design of critical equipment during new building should take into consideration personnel safety as well as equipment protection;
  • There needs to be a better design review of pressurized equipment, particularly where different components are in use.

October 6, 2022

Managing the risk of the Internet of Things - Control Engineering

"Nearly two decades ago, a disgruntled former employee used network access to remotely release sewage.

In 2007, researchers demonstrated that a generator could be destroyed by remotely opening and closing circuit breakers rapidly.

In 2014, hackers broke into the industrial network of a German steel mill and prevented a blast furnace from shutting down. 

With respect to the more modern IoT devices, a researcher hacked his insulin pump, others managed to compromise smart meters, and, in a segment aired on "60 Minutes," Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) scientists remotely controlled automobile brakes"

Read the article


October 3, 2022

Industrial Internet of Things in safety applications

Fast Forward As more wireless and Web-based applications boost IIoT adoption, some functions have moved into safety areas.The wireless diagnostic devices and applications available now covers a huge range and continues to grow.The same techniques used to monitor equipment condition can also be used to monitor safety devices and systems protecting the plant.

September 28, 2022

Liquid nitrogen explosion

September 24, 2022

Nitrogen pipeline ruptured

Part of the pipeline network used to channel nitrogen gas at a manufacturing plant has suffered a failure and ruptured. This incident took place after the refilling of liquid nitrogen from transportation vehicle into the storage tank was done. No loss of life or injury was reported because there was no worker in that area during accident.

Investigation found (revealed) that the pipelines which are made of carbon steel, ruptured in many parts during the accident. Failures on welded part of the pipeline were also detected.

Recommendation of Improvement:

  1. Welding on critical and pressurised parts should be done by a qualified welder. The process and method of welding shall meet the requirements of relevant standards.
  2. Design of storage tanks and pipelines should be in compliance with the appropriate design standards and code of practice.
  3. Pressure safety valve shall be installed at appropriate location on the storage tanks to prevent undetected overpressure. The safety valve must also be suitable with the range of pressure used.
  4. Some metals become brittle when exposed to low temperature. This condition can cause failure to happen in a short period of time and without imminent warning. For this purpose, any metal used for pipelines and storage tank shall be suited to the type of gas/ liquid and operating temperature/ pressure, especially if it involves cryogenic process or materials.


September 20, 2022

Rupture of a Liquid Nitrogen Storage Tank

On 28th August 1992, there was a catastrophic failure of a storage tank containing liquefied nitrogen. The failure resulted in the collapse of almost half of the manufacturing site and damage to houses and vehicles within a 400 metre radius. Fragments of the vessel were projected up to 350 metres, the largest of which, a section of the outer shell head was 1.5 metres wide and 8mm thick.

The tank was a double-walled vacuum-insulated ultra-low temperature storage vessel designed to operate at -196°C and 9.3 bar (maximum normal operating pressure).

The inner vessel broke into seven fragments and the outer vessel broke into eleven main fragments and numerous smaller pieces. It was discovered during the course of the investigation that most of the valves on the system were closed including the top liquid inlet, liquid outlet and the isolation valves for the relief valve and bursting disc. The vessel was therefore under completely closed conditions at the time of the accident. The bursting disc was found to be ruptured despite the closed inlet valve, however it was believed that the valve might have been closed after the disc ruptured on a previous occasion. The inner and outer shells ruptured as a result of excessive pressure under closed conditions. It was estimated that the inner shell ruptured at a pressure of 68.7 bar. The pressure reached this level as a result of heat inflow over the sixty days between its final filling and the time of the explosion.

Failures in technical measures

  • Isolation valves were fitted below both relief devices without any interlocking system to ensure that one device was always protecting the vessel.
  • Relief Systems / Vent Systems: relief valves, bursting discs
  • There were no manuals for the operation of the nitrogen vessel. The daily inspections required on the vessel were largely neglected and no safety instructions were given to employees.
  • Training: operator training
  • Operating Procedures: provision of comprehensive operating procedures


September 16, 2022

Liquid nitrogen incident

 At 5:30 p.m. on February 5, 2017, an employee was responding to an emergency alarm. As he entered a space that was oxygen deficient, he was knocked unconscious. The employee was rescued from the space and was hospitalized, where he received treatment for having been exposed to an oxygen deficient atmosphere, as well as hypothermia and frostbite. His injuries resulted in amputation of an unspecified extremities. The incident investigation revealed that the space contained liquid nitrogen.

September 12, 2022

Electrocution incident

On January 14, 2004, Employee #1, was contracted by the client to provide additional electrical power to boost up the power available from the utility company, which the client needed to test some special equipment. This client is involved in the manufacture and testing of cryogenic pumps and other parts used in the aerospace industry. The manufacturing and testing operations are housed in a large building. The employer had temporarily wired up additional generators to a transformer owned and maintained by the client. This temporary wiring setup including the generators and the transformer was entirely located outside in the parking area behind the manufacturing building. This testing had been completed and the employer was in the process of dismantling this temporary setup when this incident occurred. The circuits containing generators and the transformer had been completely shut down and there was no live part in the temporary wiring setup. The enclosure that housed this transformer for the temporary setup had three additional cables running through it. These cables were spliced inside this enclosure and had no connection to the transformer. These spliced cables carried Edison 4160VAC power for a 150-horse power motor used by the client as permanent equipment, which was not involved in the temporary wiring setup by the employer. It appears that the transformer enclosure was also used as a junction box for the spliced cables. Each of the spliced connections was covered with pieces of PVC pipe and some duct tape. Before the incident a coworker had tested transformer terminals and determined that there was no power in any part of the transformer. As part of the temporary setup dismantling process, Employee #1 was helping the corker to disconnect the cables from the transformer. While Employee #1 was disconnecting a cable from the transformer, one of the spliced connections was exposed, which started an electrical arc and fire. The right forearm of Employee #1 was burned in the fire before he could get away. Employee #1 suffered third degree burns to his right forearm and was hospitalized for three weeks.