Hot Port News from GAC

Health and Safety, Holidays, Ports & Terminals — By on January 11, 2014 at 8:18 PM

GAC-newYour daily news service from ports around the world.

In this HOT PORT NEWS, read about:
* Worldwide – World Holidays: 12-25 January 2014
* United States, all ports – Tank sampling dangers / H2S Threshold Limit Change

DATE: January 11, 2014
COUNTRY: Worldwide
World Holidays: 12-25 January 2014

Public holidays around the world in the coming two weeks include the
following:

  • Tue 14 Jan – Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday
  • Tue 14 Jan – Eid Milad un-Nabi
  • Fri 17 Jan – Taipusam (Malaysia)
  • Mon 20 Jan – Martin Luther King Day (USA)
  • Sat 25 Jan – Egypt Revolution

For information about operations around the world contact the respective
GAC office. Details may be found under ‘GAC Worldwide’ at gac.com

DATE: January 11, 2014
COUNTRY: United States
PORT: all ports
Tank sampling dangers / H2S Threshold Limit Change

This Safety Alert serves as a reminder to Coast Guard (CG) personnel and
the maritime community of potential dangers during sampling of cargo tanks.

During a recent Port State Control (PSC) tank
vessel examination, a CG member was exposed to a dangerous concentration of
Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) gas and suffered a serious injury.

The exposure occurred during a tank vessel exam onboard a tank vessel
carrying Grade E Sour Crude. A PSC team requested a ship’s crew member
check cargo tank oxygen levels using the ship’s portable gas meter. The
crew member accessed the cargo tank via a deck sounding valve…. ….When
the valve was opened the pressurized cargo tank atmosphere escaped
releasing inert gas and H2S vapors.

During the evolution the personal gas meters of two individuals involved
(one CG and one crew) alarmed for H2S. The CG officer whose alarm sounded
was standing 1–2 feet downwind from the sounding valve. Within days the CG
officer developed severe exposure symptoms consistent with H2S exposure.
The other two CG officers involved were standing upwind. Afterward, one
reported experiencing a minor headache.

OSHA notes that H2S is a colorless, flammable gas with a “rotten egg” smell
that occurs naturally in crude petroleum. Even at low concentrations this
heavier-than-air gas can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and respiratory
system with effects delayed for hours or days. At higher concentrations,
nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, unconsciousness or death may occur.
While the initial “rotten egg” odor is present, an individual may lose the
ability to smell that gas after becoming exposed.

Personal monitoring equipment is, therefore, vital to protect against
exposure. An alarm on
H2S constitutes an acute exposure and should trigger immediate evacuation
and initiation of acute exposure procedures including medical attention.

Prior to using portable gas monitoring equipment, personnel should
familiarize themselves with ISGOTT Section 11.8 and safe work practices for
conducting or witnessing these tests. ISGOTT recommends when sampling tanks
personnel should stand perpendicular to the wind to avoid being downwind or
upwind and creating eddies. When monitoring cargo tank atmospheres, all
personnel should exercise diligence and great care. In all cases, personnel
should completely assess the risks, to include the cargo type, tank
pressure, venting arrangements, wind direction/speed and condition of the
testing equipment. When H2S is suspected to be present, ISGOTT Section
2.3.6.5 recommends that a self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) be worn
if it is necessary to breach the integrity of the cargo system and if a
vapor free atmosphere cannot be guaranteed.

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists recently
reduced the H2S dangerous Threshold Limit Value from 2 parts per million
(ppm) to 1 ppm.

As a result the Coast Guard strongly recommends that those involved in
cargo tank sampling or atmosphere testing:

* Be familiar with and adhere to ISGOTT safe work practices.
* Assess personnel risks.
* Don appropriate personal protection equipment including gas monitoring
detectors, respirator or SCBA.
* If gas monitoring detectors are used ensure:
- detectors are maintained and properly calibrated
- alarm settings values are properly set
* Be aware and familiar with the hazards of the cargos involved as well as
exposure indicators and emergency response procedures.

This safety alert is provided for informational purpose only and does not
relieve any domestic or international safety, operational or material
requirement.

(For information about operations in the USA contact GAC USA at
usa@gac.com)

Source: United States Coast Guard Marine Safety Alert No.02-14 dated 9
January 2014

GAC is the world’s leading provider of services and solutions for the
global Shipping, Logistics and Marine industries.

“Jo”

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