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Damaged Electrical Cable

What happened?

During a washdown of a vessel’s cargo hold a crew member noticed arcing from around two electrical cables near the cargo hold light.  Upon closer investigation he noticed a piece of tie wire connected to the cables was glowing red.  The crew member immediately stopped hosing down and turned the water supply off and notified the ship’s electrician.

Damaged cable
Cargo hold

What were the causes

The outer insulation of the cabling was damaged.  The cable insulation had deteriorated due to age and weathering, exposing the live wire.  The location of the cable was such that it was not easily accessed for detailed visual inspection.


  • Visual inspection of all electrical cables for early signs of aging and weathering, particularly in difficult to see areas.

IMCA notes that neglected exposed mains cabling is a surprisingly common high potential issue, in an area – electrical safety – that ought to be a good deal more tightly controlled.

Consider the following:

Safety Event

Published: 31 August 2021
Download: IMCA SF 24/21

Relevant life-saving rules:
IMCA Safety Flashes
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