Skip to content

Get it fixed!! Deteriorated seals on emergency hatch

What Happened?

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

Safety Event

Published: 11 March 2022
Download: IMCA SF 06/22

Relevant life-saving rules:
IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.