Lesson Learned: Hose Management & Chemicals, Crew Fell Ill


IMCA, in its Safety Events, reports an incident where a crew person fell ill because of hose management and chemicals.

What happened

Whilst filling a bucket from a hose, someone was adversely affected by the contents of the hose. The incident happened whilst two engineers were in the process of flushing non-potable water through a hose (to get all of the air out) before filling a cooling water system. One engineer started coughing as the contents of the hose started to fill up the bottom of the bucket. The individual was approached by a colleague and asked if they were OK. The individual continued to cough and so was asked to go and wash their hands and get some fresh air. On returning to the area the individual still didn’t feel right and so was escorted to the bridge. The individual was advised to rest and get plenty of fresh air and in due course felt better. There were no long-term ill effects.

What went wrong

  • The two engineers both noticed that there was some yellow/brown liquid in the bottom of the bucket which wasn’t water. They started thinking that there was something wrong with this water.
  • The person who felt ill had also come into contact with the fluid; gloves were not worn as the assumption had been made that it was only water that was being dealt with.
  • It was considered that the hose contained mostly stagnant water and some of the cooling medium liquid. The hose has been sat in a cupboard coiled up for nearly two years and was unlikely to have been allowed to drip dry at any point, leaving remnants of non-potable water and cooling medium inside.

IMCA members considered the root cause of the incident to be poor hose management. After investigation, it was found that this hose had been previously used to fill up the system with Antifrogen, a cooling agent, in July 2019. It had not been properly flushed afterwards and some of the previous liquid had remained in the hose. The hose had not been used since.


  • The old hose was disposed of. Two new hoses were prepared, one for cooling agents, and the other for non-potable water.
  • All such hoses are to be flushed clean after use and left to dry before storage.
  • Avoid touching a substance if you are not sure exactly what it is!

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Source: IMCA