During an inspection of a vessel as a part of the 5-yearly docking, deteriorated seals were found on a number of hatches.
Preliminary investigation was conducted and after crew feedback, it was revealed that the crew had observed this unsafe condition some while ago, ordered and received new seals, but had continued to operate with no action, waiting for docking in order to replace deteriorated seals etc.
Hatch seals perform a vital role in a wide variety of marine applications. The hatch seal ensures that no liquid or gas is able to enter the vessel. After a period of use seals can deteriorate and become worn which reduces potential sealing properties. In this case, there was the risk of potential seawater leakage to the engine room had no action been taken.
What went wrong? What was the cause?
- Lack of risk perception and lack of timely action by vessel crew after identifying deteriorated seals – continuing to operate in an unsafe condition, considering waiting until the vessel was docked.
- “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” is a call to inaction – if something needs dealing with, deal with it now, not later.
Members may wish to refer to
- Only a centimetre – an emergency exit hatch blocked by mooring ropes
- Failure of chamber door hydraulic actuator [All the seals inside the actuator were found to be completely perished inside.]
- Near miss/positive: Internal O-ring seal found damaged on fuel system [“It always pays to check. O-ring seals are small but vitally important components which should be treated with the greatest of respect.]
- Diving bell TUP O-ring seal damage
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