Carbon monxide poisoning on self-powered barge Goole Star with loss of 1 life

Location: Berthed at Marchwood, Southampton, England.

Completed PE Summary: Goole Star

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Merchant Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name Goole Star
Registered Owner Not registered
Type Self-powered barge
Built 1965
Construction Steel
Length Overall 37.1m
Gross Tonnage 233
Date/Time: 3/12/2009
Location of Incident Marchwood, Southampton
Incident Type Accident to person
Persons Onboard 2
Injuries/Fatalities 1 fatality
Damage/Pollution None


Goole Star had loaded a cargo of aggregate late in the afternoon and was alongside overnight waiting to sail when tidal conditions allowed. The skipper went to bed early in the evening, but the crewman continued to work in the engine room. Later in the evening, the skipper heard the engine room door shut and thought that the crewman had finished work and had turned in. In the morning, the skipper became concerned that the crewman was not up and ready to sail, and he went to look for him.

The skipper found the crewman in the vessel’s forward store, where he had collapsed next to a portable petrol powered generator. Ambulance crews could not revive the crewman and the postmortem examination determined that he had very high levels of carbon monoxide in his blood stream.

The generator was not part of the vessel’s equipment and was found to have been brought on board by the crewman for his own purposes. There was still petrol in the generator’s fuel tank and the controls were set to allow it to run. Ventilation openings to the forward store were still closed in the sea going position and, although the hatch was partially open, it is likely that carbon monoxide in the exhaust fumes built up quickly and overcame the crewman when he attempted to run the generator.

Action taken

MAIB has written to the owner reminding him of the need to make sure that crew understand the risks from exhaust fumes and do not create new hazards by bringing unauthorised equipment on board.

Published: December 2009

Updates to this page

Published 23 January 2015