Inadvertent release of pressurised hot water on container vessel Safmarine Nuba with 1 person injured

Location: Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Completed PE Summary: Safmarine Nuba

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Vessel name:   Safmarine Nuba
Registered Owner:   Safmarine Container Lines N.V.
Manager:   Safmarine (Pty) Ltd
Port of Registry:   London
Flag:   UK
Type:   Container
Built:   2008
Construction:   Steel
Length overall:   210.54m
Gross tonnage:   25904
Engine type & power:   Man B&W 7L 70ME-C, 21770kW MCR
Date & Time:   18 March 2010, 1225 UTC
Location of incident:   Rotterdam
Incident Type:   Scalding injuries due to an inadvertent release of hot water under pressure
Persons onboard:   25
Injuries:   1
Damage/pollution:   None


The second engineer, third engineer and the fitter were engaged in fitting protection shields, supplied by the manufacturer on cylinders No 1 & 7 of the main engine, while the vessel was alongside in Rotterdam. No risk assessment was carried out and the protection shield around cylinder No 1 was completed with ease within an hour. After lunch, the fitting of the protection shield on cylinder No 7 became more complex, necessitating the removal of platform plates, a non-pressurised pipe and the grinding of a protective bracket. No attempt was made to re-evaluate the risks. Shortly after the pipe was removed, the second engineer responded to an alarm on the boiler. The third engineer, thinking that a bracket which had supported the drain pipe had to be removed, slackened and removed the bolts which were also holding the jacket cooling water pipe connection. As the third engineer and fitter attempted to manoeuvre the shield around the cylinder, it dislodged the cooling water pipe, which resulted in the fitter becoming drenched with hot water (85º C) at 3.4 bar.

Action taken

Safmarine (Pty) Ltd has taken positive actions, including circulating the lessons arising from this accident and ensuring that appropriate documented procedures are always followed.

Published: April 2010

Published 23 January 2015