The Australia Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released its report on the serious injury that occurred on board the LNG carrier Northwest Stormpetrel.
In November last year, the Northwest Stormpetrel completed loading cargo and left her berth in Dampier, Western Australia and went to anchor in the harbour to allow the use of excess time in the schedule for her voyage to Japan for in-water lifeboat drills and other maintenance tasks. One of the tasks planned was to check the LNG forcing vaporizer’s steam trap to resolve recurrent drainage issues with the system.
While at anchor, the integrated rating assigned to assist the cargo engineer went to the cargo machinery room with the new gasket for the dismantled and cleaned steam trap. The cargo engineer discussed the remaining work with him before re-assembling the trap. The system then needed to be de-isolated and returned to its normal operational condition.
The cargo engineer decided to fully open the steam trap’s inlet valve that he had earlier cracked open. He had turned the hand wheel of the valve about one turn when the valve’s bonnet came away from the valve body. A jet of steam (about 50 mm wide) erupted from the top of the valve’s open body, scalding the cargo engineer’s hands, forehead and neck before he could move clear.