The morning after taking three months’ provisions aboard the vessel, the chief cook proceeded to fetch some meat from the refrigerated meat room. Upon opening the door, he was affected by the atmosphere of the meat room. His eyes and nose were severely irritated by the atmosphere and he immediately closed the door.
The chief cook reported a ‘smell’ in the meat room to an officer who he encountered in the duty mess room. This officer subsequently entered the meat room to check for problems. After a period of 30 to 60 seconds he started to feel light headed and left the room.
Further investigation by ship’s staff revealed the cause to be dry ice that had been packed with ice cream that had been received with the stores on the previous day. The remains of the dry ice were disposed of and the meat room thoroughly ventilated.
The company is taking the following action:
- Publicise the incident to all vessels in its fleet, highlighting information contained in MSN 1254
- Ensure that industry guidance including M Notices and other publications that contain guidance for catering ratings are integrated into or highlighted in the catering ratings’ handbooks.
- Investigate the feasibility of fitting of CO2 alarms to all unventilated rooms where frozen provisions are normally stored.
- Appropriate warning notices to be posted on the doors of rooms where frozen provisions are normally stored.
- Develop guidelines and best practice for the receipt handling and storage of provisions for ships’ staff.
- Contact all approved suppliers to warn them of the dangers of supplying stores to ships with dry ice. All suppliers should be instructed to warn vessels of the presence of dry ice or other hazardous goods packed with stores.
There is continuing concern in the industry at the prevalence of accidents associated with entry into enclosed spaces. This incident illustrates that an apparently innocuous operation, in this case taking stores packed with dry ice into the meat room, could have led to a serious incident.
We thank both ship managers for sharing their reports.