Cargo Pump Malfunction Leads To Third Degree Burns!


The UK P&I Club has issued a guideline named “Risk Focus: Burns” which highlights the danger burn injuries experienced by crew members, the required preventative measures and the importance of seeking the right treatment.

Cargo pump malfunction

  • During cargo oil discharging operations, the sea water cooling system low pressure alarm sounded in the engine room.
  • The duty engineer checked the source of the alarm and noticed that sea water cooling pump no.2 was not delivering sufficient pressure and immediately informed the chief engineer.
  • The chief engineer then started sea water cooling pump no.1 and the other pump was stopped.
  • Shortly after, the cargo pump condenser low vacuum alarm sounded and the chief engineer proceeded with the duty engineer to the cargo pump turbine platform to close the steam delivery valves from the boiler to prevent over-pressurisation of the condenser.

While they were closing the valves, the turbine expansion joints blew out, exposing both men to high pressure steam resulting in very serious second and third degree burns over large areas of their bodies.

Cause of the incident

  • The incident report indicated that the standby no.1 cooling pump had not been properly lined up and was ineffective when started. The sea water cooling water intakes were also found to be fouled with debris, restricting the flow.
  • It was furthermore reported that the chief engineer had the option of shutting the steam valves from a remote stop position rather than on the turbine platform itself.


  • Appropriate first aid must be used to treat any burns or scalds as soon as possible. This will limit the amount of damage to the skin.
  • The type of treatment given to the casualty will depend upon the cause, location, skin area affected and severity of the burn.

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Source: UK P&I Club