Two crewmen died as they tried to help a crewmate in the hold of their ship but finally ended up suffocating in the forecastle storeroom.
Ferrer Punongbayan, 33 and Jonathan Sanosa, 38, both from the Phillipines and Gerd Jescheniak, 61, the mate and safety officer of the MV Suntis collapsed due to lack of oxygen in the hold that carried freshly-sawn timber cargo.
- The reason why the first crew member went into the cargo hold is unknown.
- It is assumed that his colleague collapsed, trying to help his fallen comrade.
- He has probably ignored the “universal knowledge” among seafarers that ships holds were “notoriously oxygen deficient” .
- A fourth crewman William narrowly avoided his shipmates’ fate, when he was stopped from going down the ladder.
- The freshly-cut timber still “breathed”, reduced the levels of oxygen and produced more carbon dioxide.
- Tests proved that outside the hatch there was 20.9 per cent of oxygen in the air, 10 per cent half way down the ladder and just five to six per cent at the foot of the ladder.
The fourth crew member who first witnessed the incident explained that When he looked into the hold he saw Jonathan and Ferrer laid on their backs on the floor. They would be 2’to 3’ from the bottom, close to each other. He added that the Shipmate was grabbing hold of Ferrer and trying to lift him up. The shipmate was trying to say something that was not audible to him. Few seconds later the Shipmate fell over. He also found the two lads were still shaking. When he along with another crew member got hold of breathing equipment and descended down the hold none of the three had pulses.
Source: Yorkshire Post