Proceedings Of The Marine

FALL 2011

Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.

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Page 69 of 79

$Q RIÀFHU IURP 1RUIRON )LUH DQG 5HVFXH DQG D GRFWRU IURP WKH 1RUIRON PHGLFDO H[DPLQHU·V RIÀFH DUULYHG RQ WKH VFHQH DQG DW S P WKH VHFRQG HQJLQHHU ZDV RIÀFLDOO\ SURQRXQFHG GHDG $W S P D 86&* 0DULQH 6DIHW\ 2IÀFH +DPS- WRQ 5RDGV PDULWLPH DUPHG VHFXULW\ WHDP FRQGXFWHG D VHFXULW\ VZHHS RI WKH YHVVHO &UHZPHPEHUV ZHUH PXVWHUHG IRU D KHDG FRXQW WKHQ FRQÀQHG WR WKH PHVV hall under watch during the security boarding. All staterooms were searched for weapons and contra- band. %\ S P WZR VSHFLDO DJHQWV IURP WKH 9LUJLQLD 6WDWH 3ROLFH DQ LQYHVWLJDWRU IURP 0DULQH 6DIHW\ 2IÀFH +DPSWRQ 5RDGV DQG WKUHH &RDVW *XDUG ,QYHVWLJDWLYH 6HUYLFH VSHFLDO DJHQWV DUULYHG RQ WKH VFHQH %HFDXVH they deemed the second engineer's death suspicious, they initially treated it as a criminal investigation. $W S P 9LUJLQLD 6WDWH 3ROLFH FULPH VFHQH WHFKQL- cians arrived and began to process the area around the scavenge air receiver, the second engineer's body, and his stateroom for evidence. A marine chemist declared the scavenge air receiver safe to enter. $W WKH LQYHVWLJDWLYH WHDP LQWHUYLHZHG WKH FDS- WDLQ WKH FKLHI HQJLQHHU WKH FKLHI RIÀFHU WKH HQJLQHHU foreman, the relief second engineer, and the oiler who WKRXJKW KH PLJKW KDYH VHHQ WKH YLFWLP ODVW 0DULQH Suspicion of Foul Play When investigators arrived on the scene, their first impression was that they might be dealing with a murder because several things seemed out of the ordinary. Through re-enactments and interviewing crewmembers, they ultimately came to the conclusion that such was not the case. Nevertheless, after considering all the events leading up to the tragedy, a number of questions remained—not all of which would have answers. If this was an accident, why was the second engineer in the scavenge air receiver in the first place? This question remained unresolved. The second engineer's body was found with a partially melted plastic flashlight, a T-shirt, and a rag, but no tools. How did the manhole get dogged shut with the second engineer inside? Onsite re-creation demonstrated that this could have happened accidently. The demonstration proved the door would easily swing open or closed depending on the vessel's trim. Simply allowing the door to close all the way would engage the upper left-hand dog, effectively locking the door closed. There is no mechanism to open the door from the inside, and attempts to shake the door from the inside during the re-enactment only caused the dog to engage further. If the scavenge air receiver was opened twice during the search, why wasn't the second engineer found? The air receiver was essentially a narrow, long cylinder filled with numerous obstacles such as support beams, so moving through it would have been difficult. Investigators determined that unless you were 70 Proceedings Fall 2011 specifically looking for someone at the other end of the scavenge air receiver, you could not see a person near the forward door from the aft door. Even if the second engineer had been conscious and seen his shipmates open the aft door, the space inside was so dark and cramped—and that area of the ship so noisy—that he would have been unable to reach them in time if he had tried to cross the space. Neither would they have seen or heard him in the short time they looked. The second engineer's records revealed that he was meticulous and had been trained in the proper procedure to enter the scav- enge air space, which required two people. Why didn't he follow protocol? During inter- views, various crewmembers remembered occa- sions when the second engineer would skip safety protocols to save time. They did observe, however, that when doing so he usually risked his own safety rather than that of his shipmates. Why did the crew assume the second engi- neer went ashore if the gangway watchman stated he never saw him leave the vessel? The crew had already searched most of the vessel, so the captain assumed that the gangway watch missed the second engineer going ashore.

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