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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-92-012
Details
Synopsis: ON FEBRUARY 20, 1990, THE REFLAGGED 760-FOOT-LONG U.S. TANK SHIP SURF CITY, LOADED WITH NAPHTHA AND AUTOMOTIVE DIESEL OIL, DEPARTED KUWAIT EN ROUTE TO DISCHARGE PORTS IN SOUTHERN EUROPE. AT 1012 ON FEBRUARY 22, THE MASTER AND THE CHIEF MATE WERE STANDING AT THE NO.4 STARBOARD WATER BALLAST TANK ACCESS TRUNK WHEN AN EXPLOSION OCCURRED IN THE TANK. THE TANK AND AREA AFT TO THE DECKHOUSE ON THE STARBOARD SIDE WERE IMMEDIATELY ENGULFED IN FLAMES. THE CREW ABANDONED SHIP IN THE PORT LIFEBOAT AND WERE RESCUED BY THE U.S. NAVY GUIDED MISSILE FRIGATE USS SIMPSON (FFG-56) AT 1053. U.S. NAVAL VESSELS RECOVERED THE MASTER'S REMAINS BUT THE CHIEF MATE IS MISSING AND PRESUMED DEAD. THE FIRE BURNED FOR 2 WEEKS AND 196,985 BARRELS OF THE 606,215 BARRELS OF CARGO WERE LOST. THE VALUE OF THE LOADED CARGO WAS $12.88 MILLION AND ITS SALVED VALUE WAS $6.5 MILLION. THE VESSEL, VALUED AT $30 MILLION BEFORE THE ACCIDENT WAS SOLD IN ITS DAMAGED CONDITION FOR $4.85 MILLION. THE DAMAGE LOSS RESULTING FROM THIS ACCIDENT TOTALED $31.53 MILLION.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE U.S. COAST GUARD: DETERMINE THE BEST LOCATION, SET STANDARDS AND IMPLEMENT REQUIREMENTS FOR PORT AND STARBOARD FIRE FOAM MONITORS AFT OF THE CARGO BLOCK ON TANK VESSELS.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Marine
Location: Other Seas and Gulfs, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA90MM019
Accident Reports:
Explosion and Fire on the U.S. Tank Ship Surf City
Report #: MAR-92-02
Accident Date: 2/22/1990
Issue Date: 4/29/1992
Date Closed: 9/19/2001
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: USCG (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 9/19/2001
Response: In 1996, in response to the Safety Board’s recommendation, the Coast Guard asked the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to develop an industry standard for the design and construction of tank vessel foam systems. The Board understands that the most recent revision to the NFPA’s Standard for Low-Expansion Foam, approved in November 1997, includes a new Chapter 6 on marine systems that clearly defines the criteria for the location of port and starboard foam monitors at the front of the deckhouse. The document requires that the deckhouse monitors be accessible without entering the cargo area; the controls and valves for these monitors are required to be accessible from the operating platform. The main foam system proportioning equipment; foam concentrate storage tank, and all controls, valves, and pumps needed to activate the system must be located in a protected control room, remote from the cargo area. Because the Coast Guard participated with the NFPA in developing a standard that incorporates the recommendation, Safety Recommendation M-92-12 is classified “Closed--Acceptable Action.”

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 7/31/2000
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 04/10/2001 6:10:07 PM MC# 2001001 The most recent revision to the NFPA's Standard for Low-Expansion Foam was approved in November 1997. It includes a new Chapter 6 on marine systems that clearly defines the criteria for the location of port and starboard foam monitors at the front of the deckhouse. Additionally, the deckhouse monitors must be accessible without the need for the crew to enter the cargo area. This includes access to the necessary controls and valves for these monitors from the operating platform. The main foam system proportioning equipment, foam concentrate storage tank and all controls, valves and pumps needed to activate the system must be located in a protected control room. Pumps needed to activate the system must be located in a protected control room area, remote from the cargo area. This new NFPA standard satisfies the Board's recommendation.

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 7/14/1998
Response: NTSB REQUESTED A FOLLOWUP.

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 3/20/1997
Response: THE BOARD AGREES THAT A USCG-SPONSORED NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION (NFPA) STANDARD FOR THE DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION OF TANK VESSEL DECK FOAM SYSTEM, IN CONJUCTION WITH AN IMO RULE REGULATING TANK VESSELS ON INTERNATIONAL VOYAGES, WILL SATISFY THE INTENT OF BOTH RECOMMENDATIONS. THEREFORE, PENDING COMPLETION OF THE NFPA INDUSTRY STANDARD & USCG'S PROPOSAL TO THE IMO, M-92-11 & -12 WILL REMAIN CLASSIFIED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE." THE BOARD WOULD APPRECIATE PERIODIC UPDATES ON THESE ISSUES.

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 9/23/1996
Response: DETERMINE THE BEST LOCATION, SET STANDARDS, & IMPLEMENT REQUIREMENTS FOR PORT & STARBOARD FIRE FOAM MONITORS AFT OF THE CARGO BLOCK ON TANK VESSELS.

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 5/24/1993
Response: THE BOARD UNDERSTAND THAT THE COAST GUARD IS PLANNING TO REVIEW ITS 1977 STUDY ENTITLED AUTOMATED DECK FOAM FIREFIGHTING SYSTEMS FOR TANKERS TO DETERMINE THE RELIABILITY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THESE SYSTEMS & TO USE THE RESULTS OF ITS REVIEW TO DRAFT PROPOSED INTERNATIONAL REGULATORY CHANGES TO BE SUBMITTED TO THE INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANIZATION (IMO), IF APPROPRIATE. THE BOARD WOULD LIKE TO BE KEPT INFORMED OF THE PROGRESS ON THESE RECOMMENDATIONS. IN THE INTERIM, M-92-11 & -12 HAVE BEEN CLASSIFIED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 3/4/1993
Response: I CONCUR WITH THESE RECOMMENDATIONS. IN 1977, THE CG R&D CENTER CONDUCTED A STUDY ENTITLED AUTOMATED DECK FOAM FIREFIGHTING SYSTEMS FOR TANKERS. ALTHOUGH SOME OF THE RESULTS WERE FAVORABLE, THE STUDY RAISED SERIOUS CONCERNS REGARDING RELIABILITY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF REMOTELY CONTROLLED FOAM FIREFIGHTING SYSTEMS. COMMANDANT (G-MTH) WILL CONDUCT A FOLLOW-ON REVIEW TO DETERMINE THE STATE OF THE ART FOR RELIABILITY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THESE SYSTEMS. BASED ON THE RESULTS OF THE FOLLOW-ON REVIEW, WE WILL DRAFT PROPOSED INTERNATIONAL REGULATORY CHANGES FOR SUBMITTAL TO THE IMO IF APPROPRIATE. I WILL KEEP YOU INFORMED OF OUR PROGRESS ON THESE RECOMMENDATIONS.