Flooding on dredger Panurgic II with 2 people affected by carbon monoxide poisoning from portable petrol pump

Location: Flixborough Wharf, River Trent, England.

Completed PE Summary: Panurgic II

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Vessel name   Panurgic II
Manager:   Privately owned
Type:   Hopper/Dredger
Built:   1950
Construction:   Steel
Length overall:   34.74m
Gross tonnage:   139.9
Date & Time   14 October 2007, 1420 (UTC+1)
Location of incident:   Flixborough Wharf, River Trent
Incident Type:   Accident to person
Persons onboard:   3 crew
Injuries/fatalities:   2 crew injured
Damage/pollution:   Vessel holed prior to accident – no pollution

Synopsis

On 14 October 2007 the hopper/dredger Panurgic II was dredging at Flixborough Wharf on the River Trent, when water was observed entering her accommodation space.

The skipper started the bilge pump for that space and manoeuvred the vessel onto a mud bank at the end of the berth to ensure she was safe. The crew then placed a portable, petrol driven, pump into the accommodation space, which was located below the main deck of the vessel.

With both pumps coping with the ingress of water, the skipper manoeuvred the vessel off the mud bank and positioned her alongside the wharf. He then left the vessel to purchase repair materials from a nearby store. Two crew members remained on board to oversee the continuing pumping operation.

While the skipper was ashore, the vessel took the bottom and trimmed by the head as the tide ebbed. This resulted in water flowing forward from the accommodation space into an adjacent confined space.

At this point the pumps in the accommodation space lost suction and the two crew members decided to move the portable, petrol driven, pump into the adjacent confined space. They attempted to gain suction with the pump positioned on deck, but this proved unsuccessful, so they lowered the pump into the space and then entered the compartment to place the suction hose in the water. This proved successful and with the pump working well both men left the space.

Some time later the pump lost suction and one of the crew members went into the space to investigate. His colleague then joined him in the space and together they managed to regain suction on the pump.

However, the first crewman to enter the space then reported feeling dizzy and was making for the ladder when he collapsed and lost consciousness. The second man then stopped the pump and left the space to get a rope to pull his colleague out.

Fortunately, the skipper and another man returned to the vessel at this time and were able to quickly extract the unconscious crew member from the space. They applied first aid and summoned an ambulance. The crew member regained consciousness as the ambulance arrived.

Both crew members were taken to hospital. They were found to be suffering the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning and spent some time in hospital before recovering fully.

A hole in the vessel’s bottom was eventually located and plugged. The vessel then proceeded to dry dock for permanent repairs.

Action taken:

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the owner of Panurgic II commending him on the actions he took to ensure the vessel’s safety after the hull was breached and in giving prompt first aid to the injured crewman. The Chief Inspector also stressed the importance of undertaking risk assessments for on board operations to help in ensuring that they are conducted in a safe manner, referring to the operational guidance contained in the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seamen.

The owner has scrapped the petrol driven pump and replaced it with a diesel pump capable of obtaining suction from the deck.


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