Pressure Build-Up Incident In Waste Container Averted Onboard Vessel


  • A potentially hazardous incident was narrowly avoided aboard a vessel when the lid of a waste container blew off due to a build-up of excessive pressure caused by hot ash deposition.
  • Prompt action by a vigilant crew member prevented any injuries or damage to the vessel.
  • The incident underscores the importance of proper waste management protocols and risk assessment procedures in maritime operations.

Onboard a vessel, a critical situation unfolded as hot ash from the ship’s incinerator was deposited into a waste container, and the lid was promptly sealed shut. Unbeknownst to the crew, the still-hot ash emitted gases, leading to a dangerous increase in pressure within the container, which lacked adequate ventilation. Recognizing the potential danger, a crew member attempted to alleviate the pressure by cautiously opening the compression ring on the waste container. However, this action inadvertently resulted in the forceful expulsion of the lid, which plummeted 11 meters to the main deck below. Fortunately, no other personnel were present in the vicinity at the time of the incident, averting any potential injuries or damage.

Causes of the Incident

An inadequate assessment of the risks associated with handling and disposing of incinerated waste, particularly regarding the storage of hot ash in a sealed container.
A lack of awareness among crew members regarding the potential hazards of manually relieving pressure build-up in waste containers.

Actions Taken and Recommendations

Following the incident, immediate measures were implemented to address the root causes and prevent future occurrences. This included the installation of “goose neck” vents in waste containers to prevent pressure build-up and revising waste management procedures to incorporate comprehensive risk assessments for handling hot ash.

The swift response and proactive measures taken by the vessel’s crew averted what could have been a serious incident. By prioritizing safety protocols and fostering a culture of vigilance, maritime operators can ensure the well-being of their personnel and the integrity of their vessels. This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of continual risk assessment and adherence to established safety procedures in maritime operations.

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Source: IMCA