3 Sailors Die of Toxic Fumes Aboard Barge

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In an unfortunate incident that occurred on Saturday, 3 sailors have reportedly lost their lives due to inhalation of toxic fumes.

What happened?

Three Indian sailors died while one is currently in a serious condition after they inhaled toxic fumes from a sludge leakage in a cargo barge off Mumbai harbour, India.  The captain of a Singapore bulk carrier ship was rescued, an official said here.

The ship, a bulk goods carrier, MV Thor Endeavour, anchored some 10 km west of Mumbai, reported the incident on the cargo barge, Orion II, around 10.45 p.m. on Friday to the Indian Coast Guard Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (ICG-MRCC) here.

While three sailors were brought dead to the shore, one was injured.  The master of Orion II, Mohammed Daud Ibrahim Kurey, 50, was saved after he was administered first aid by the ICG team.

The ship was engaged in unloading a cargo of wheat from MV Thor Endeavour at the time of the incident late on Friday, ICG (West Region) spokesperson Sujeet Dwivedi.

Suspected gas leak:

The preliminary report received indicated a suspected gas leak in the barge, rendering five persons unconscious.

Later, the ICG contacted the Orion II agents to tow the distressed vessel to Mumbai shore.

Investigations confirm presence of toxic fumes:

The ICG alerted and ordered a Coast Guard Ship C-154 for an emergency mission and the vessel commander, Deputy Commandant C. Vijay Kumar reached the distressed vessel shortly after midnight on Saturday.  His investigations revealed that the level in the sludge tank, for collecting waste, had increased.

One crewman who entered the ballast tank to fit a de-flooding pump lost consciousness due to the poisonous fumes inside.

Later, four others, including the barge master, entered the tank, but they also fell unconscious one by one.  The remaining four crewmen (total crew on barge was nine) above attempted to rescue them.

The investigating officer said the sludge tank was located three decks down in the barge and can be accessed only by a small hatch by one person at a time.  The darkness and limited visibility contributed to the grave situation.

The ICG team found that of the four sailors still inside the tank, three appeared dead, and one was floating unconscious, facing upwards and feebly breathing.  He was administered first aid and shifted to hospital for further treatment.

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Source: Business Standard

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