EHS & Waste Management

Explosion Due to Hot Work on Bulk Carrier Off Cornwall with One Fatality

By April 24, 2019 No Comments

Three crew members have been injured following an explosion due to Hot Work Accident on board a Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier off Cornwall on April 17th, 2019.

The 93,400 dwt Great Aspiration suffered the explosion in a cargo hold due to welding activities on April 17, 2019, according to data provided by VesselsValue.

Three seafarers, Chinese nationals, were evacuated off the Post-Panamax some 30 miles off Lizard Point after suffering significant burns, the UK’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency said in a statement.

HM Coastguard’s search and rescue helicopter from Newquay was sent and the three were taken to Derriford Hospital for treatment. Two of the injured crew were flown to a specialist burns unit in Swansea.

One crew member is believed to have subsequently died.

There was no pollution reported.

Built in 2010, Great Aspiration is owned by China’s Sinotrans Shipping.

Hot Work involves sources of ignition or temperature sufficiently high enough to cause the ignition of a flammable gas mixture and therefore is a high risk activity on board a vessel.


Hot Work traditionally includes, but is not limited to, any work requiring the use of electric arc or gas welding equipment, cutting burner equipment or other forms of naked flame, as well as heating or spark generating tools which are not certified for use in hazardous areas.

Hot Work procedures:

Hot Work procedures must be developed for Hot Work on Board All Types of Ships. The procedures must be incorporated into the Safety Management System of the ship where such systems are required.

The procedures must ensure that any hot work is justified and deemed necessary for the safety and/or the immediate operation of the ship and that all viable alternatives have been considered, a the hot work policy supports a permit-to-work system that is easily understandable to the crew, a risk assessment has been conducted to consider all hazards, including but not limited to:

  • entering enclosed spaces if applicable to the job
  • the type of cargo being carried
  • surrounding hazards near the work area (e.g. ventilator heads)
  • whether a fitting can be removed from a hazardous cargo area before hot work is performed
  • availability of local fire-fighting equipment
  • the anticipated duration of the work
  • the appointment of a suitably qualified responsible officer-in-charge.


Industry guidance appropriate to the ship type is to be utilized when developing the hot work procedures. This guidance includes, but is not limited to, the most recent versions of:

Hot work within the cargo area is prohibited on ships that are carrying or have carried a flammable substance or those that emit flammable vapors, except when the process is strictly controlled in accordance with the ship’s hot work procedures.


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