Page last updated at 08:42 GMT, Wednesday, 9 July 2008 09:42 UK

Seamen were 'unaware of dangers'

Viking Islay
Two of the men were from Scotland and one from Poland

Three seamen who died because of a lack of oxygen in a ship's compartment had failed to appreciate the possible dangers they faced, a report said.

Finlay MacFadyen, Robert O'Brien and Robert Ebertowski were working in an enclosed space on the Viking Islay ship off the Yorkshire coast in 2007.

The men, from Scotland and Poland, had failed to recognise the atmosphere would slowly become oxygen deficient.

Marine Accident Investigation Branch experts recommended training changes.

The report said the men had gone into the chain locker on the ship to secure a rattling anchor chain.

Breathing device

But they had "failed to recognise the chain locker was a potentially dangerous enclosed or confined space or the likelihood that the atmosphere inside could become oxygen-deficient over time".

One of the men had put on an emergency escape breathing device but the hood was either removed or became dislodged, said the report.

The marine accident experts added that the training and subsequent drills in the use of such devices "had not been sufficient to ensure the limitations of the equipment were recognised in an emergency".

And the document added: "The ship manager's company policy on entry into enclosed spaces was not clear and did not take into account scenarios that could require crews to enter confined spaces while at sea".

Gas monitoring equipment supplied to the vessel was unsuitable for ensuring safe entry into enclosed spaces, the experts concluded.

'Deficiencies'

"The audit regime employed by the ship's managers to ensure compliance with its SMS (safety management system) failed to detect deficiencies in training, equipment and safety culture on board Viking Islay," the report said.

Those who died were Finlay MacFadyen, 46, from Aberdeen, Robert O'Brien, 59, from Leven in Fife, and Robert Ebertowski, 40, from Gdynia, Poland. They were in the Amethyst field when the accident happened.

The report's authors said two of the seamen had gone forward to secure the anchor chain. One entered the chain locker and collapsed. The other tried to enter the locker to help his companion and he, too, collapsed.

Accident investigators made various recommendations to the ship's operators, Aberdeen-based Vroon Offshore Ltd, and to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to ensure there was no repeat of the accident.


SEE ALSO
Ship post-mortem 'inconclusive'
26 Sep 07 |  Humber
Three die in North Sea accident
23 Sep 07 |  Humber

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