Skip to content

Sewage spilled onto the quayside

30-40 litres of sewage water was spilled onto the quayside during a transfer operation from vessel to sewage truck.  There was no discharge into the sea due to a contained concreted area on the quayside.

What were the causes?  What went wrong?

Our member identified the following preliminary causes:

  • An incorrect connection method was used.  The correct hose connection was not available on the truck.  The sewage transfer hose was hung through the hatch of the tank and secured by rope only;
  • An unsafe latent condition was left unattended; the unsafe condition was neither reported nor challenged until after the actual spill had taken place;
  • There was a lack of communication – no radio was provided to the truck driver, so there was a delayed response/shut down of transfer pump on the vessel;
  • A company safety management system (SMS) requirement was not followed – a wet bulk transfer check list was not completed.

What actions were taken?

  • Confirm that proper compatible hose connections and whip checks are available for all liquid waste trucks to ensure safe transfer operations;
  • Confirm that all equipment utilized for sewage and oil water transfers are in good condition and certified in line with local regulations;
  • Provide proper communications equipment – in this case, radios for all transfer operations;
  • Re-iterate requirement to complete wet bulk transfer check list for waste oil and sewage transfers.

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 22 May 2020
Download: IMCA SF 16/20

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.