Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-92-020
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 INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER OF SHIPPING: REVISE THE 1988 "INTERNATIONAL SAFETY GUIDE FOR OIL TANKERS & TERMINALS" TO INCLUDE CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS THAT BALLAST TANKS, COFFERDAMS, AND VOIDS LOCATED IN OR IMMEDIATELY ADJACENT TO THE CARGO BLOCK SHOULD BE TESTED BEFORE TANK ENTRY FOR EXPLOSIVE LEVELS AND FOR OXYGEN LEVELS TO DETERMINE THE CONDITION OF THE TANK ATMOSPHERE AND PROCEDURES TO FOLLOW BEFORE VENTILATING A TANK.
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: 7/19/1995
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: International Chamber of Shipping (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: International Chamber of Shipping
Date: 7/19/1995
Response: THE BOARD NOTES THAT THE ICS, IN CONJUCTION WITH THE OIL COMPANIES INTERNATIONAL MARINE FORUM & THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PORTS & HARBORS, HAS REVISED THE INTERNATIONAL SAFETY GUIDE FOR OIL TANKERS & TERMINALS AS REQUESTED. THEREFORE, M-92-020 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--ACCEPTALBE ACTION."

From: International Chamber of Shipping
To: NTSB
Date: 6/13/1995
Response: NONE

From: NTSB
To: International Chamber of Shipping
Date: 6/16/1993
Response: THE BOARD IS PLEASED THAT THE ICS IN CONJUCTION WITH THE OIL COMPANIES INTERNATIONAL MARINE FORUM AND THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PORTS AND HARBORS HAS BEGUN REVISING THE "INTERNATIONAL SAFETY GUIDE FOR OIL TANKERS & TERMINALS" TO INCLUDE THE RECOMMENDED INFORMATION. RECOMMENDATION M-92-020 WILL BE CLASSIFIED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE" UNTIL THE GUIDE HAS BEEN AMENDED. THE BOARD WOULD APPRECIATE RECEIVING A COPY OF THE REVISED GUIDE.

From: International Chamber of Shipping
To: NTSB
Date: 4/27/1993
Response: ICS IN CONJUCTION WITH THE OIL COMPANIES INTERNATIONAL MARINE FORUM AND THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PORTS AND HARBORS HAVE BEGUN WORK ON REVISING THE INTERNATIONAL SAFETY GUIDE FOR OIL TANKERS & TERMINALS TO INCLUDE THE RECOMMENDED INFORMATION. THE AMENDED GUIDE SHOULD BE AVAILABLE BY THE END OF 1993. A COPY OF THE REVISED GUIDE WILL BE PROVIDED WHEN AVAILABLE.

From: NTSB
To: International Chamber of Shipping
Date: 3/26/1993
Response: OUR RECORDS SHOW THAT WE HAVE NOT RECEIVED A RESPONSE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER OF SHIPPING REGARDING THIS RECOMMENDATION. WE WOULD APPRECIATE BEING INFORMED ABOUT THE EFFORTS THAT HAVE BEEN OR ARE BEING MADE TO IMPLEMENT THIS RECOMMENDATION.