Electric Shock Due To Closed Drainage System Scuppers


Following its Safety Flashes series, IMCA described a case where a crewmember experienced an electric shock due to water in electrical equipment.

The Incident

There was an uncontrolled spraying of fresh water from a sounding pipe in the galley, resulting in electrical equipment getting wet. As a result someone got an electric shock.

The incident occurred during fresh water supply to a vessel, when the sounding pipe cap (located on the floor in the vessel galley) did not withstand the pressure, and so water sprayed out into the galley and onto the electrical stoves and deep fat fryer.

The flow of water was stopped and spilled water was mopped up, and the catering team continued to work.

However, it appeared that water had penetrated the electrical circuitry of the deep fat fryer, and the steward received a mains electrical shock. This was reported, and the electrical equipment isolated. The steward was not harmed.

Location of sounding pipe cap

Electrical stove and deep fat fryer


  • No-one had assessed the risks of a large volume of water spilling into the galley from the freshwater tank sounding pipes, nor considered the potential contact with electrical equipment;
  • Drainage of the spilled water was delayed because the catering staff usually kept drainage system scuppers closed in the galley because of the smell coming out of the drainage system.

Lessons learned

  • The drainage system in the galley should be always kept open;
  • Review, revise and update risk assessments as related to potential water flooding from the freshwater tank sounding pipes;
  • Ensure the catering crew are kept informed of relevant inspection and maintenance requirements for their equipment.

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Source: IMCA


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