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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-92-018
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: PROPOSE THAT THE INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANIZATION DEVELOP A LIFEBOAT RETROFIT OR REPLACEMENT PROGRAM FOR TANK VESSELS BUILT BEFORE JULY 1, 1986, REQUIRING THAT LIFEBOATS BE TOTALLY ENCLOSED, HAVE PROPELLER GUARDS, AND BE LAUNCHABLE FROM WITHIN THE CRAFT.
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: 3/20/1997
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: USCG (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 3/20/1997
Response: BECAUSE THE USCG MADE SEVERAL PROPOSALS TO THE IMO LIFESAVING, SEARCH & RESCUE SUBCOMMITTEE, AS REQUESTED, M-92-18 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION." THE BOARD, HOWEVER, IS DISAPPOINTED THAT THIS RECOMMENDATION WAS NOT ACCEPTED BY THE IMO.

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 9/23/1996
Response: PROPOSE THAT THE IMO DEVELOP A LIFEBOAT RETROFIT OR REPLACEMENT PROGRAM FOR TANK VESSELS BUILT BEFORE 7/1/86, REQUIRING THAT LIFEBOATS BE TOTALLY ENCLOSED, HAVE PROPELLER GUARDS, & BE LAUNCHABLE FROM WITHIN THE CRAFT.

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 5/24/1993
Response: THE BOARD NOTES THAT THE IMO LIFESAVING, SEARCH & RESCUE SUBCOMMITTEE IS CONSIDERING REVISING SOLAS CHAPTER III, & THAT THE u.s. WILL SUPPORT A REALISTIC SUNSET DATE ON THE USE OF OPEN LIFEBOATS. HOWEVER, THE BOARD BELIEVES THAT THE NEW ENCLOSED LIFEBOATS SHOULD BE REQUIRED BEFORE 2001. THE BOARD APPRECIATES THE COAST GUARD'S EFFORTS IN THIS REGARD & REQUESTS THAT WE BE KEPT APPRISED OF THE STATUS OF THIS INITIATIVE. IN THE INTERIM, M-92-18 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 3/4/1993
Response: I CONCUR WITH THIS RECOMMENDATION. THE IMO LIFESAVING, SAR SUBCOMMITTEE IS CONSIDERING REVISION TO SOLAS CHAPTER III, INCLUDING REVIEWING AND RECOMMENDING UPGRADING OF EQUIPMENT ON EXISTING SHIPS. ALTHOUGH THE "GRANDFATHER" CLAUSE WHICH EXEMPT OLDER SHIPS FROM SOME OF THE NEW EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS WILL NOT BE ELIMINATED, THE US WILL SUPPORT A REALISTIC SUNSET DATE ON THE USE OF OPEN LIFEBOATS. OPEN LIFEBOATS WOULD BE REPLACED WITH TOTALLY ENCLOSED LIFEBOATS, LAUNCHED FROM WITHIN THE CRAFT AND EQUIPPED WITH PROPELLER GUARDS. THE WORK ON REVISING SOLAR CHAPTER III IS SCHEDULED FOR COMPLETION IN 1994. I WILL KEEP THE BOARD INFORMED OF OUR PROGRESS ON THIS ISSUE.