Marine safety investigations & reports

Fatality at sea on board the Liberian registered multipurpose ship Cape Darnley on 8 July 2010

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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At about 0830 on 8 July 2010, a crew member on board the multipurpose ship Cape Darnley was fatally injured following an explosion that occurred while he was attempting to cut the top off a 200 litre steel drum. When the oiler touched an angle grinder's spinning cutting disk onto the top of the drum, the heat generated ignited the vapours inside the drum. Once ignited, the rapid expansion of the vapour/air mixture resulted in the drum exploding.

The ATSB investigation found that an appropriate risk analysis was not undertaken and a hot work permit was not completed for the task.

The investigation also found that the oiler was not aware of the ship's work permit requirements or the risks associated with using an angle grinder to cut the top off a closed drum.

The ATSB acknowledges the safety actions taken by the ship's managers to address the two safety issues identified during the investigation.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 410KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 575KB]


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General details
Date: 08 July 2010   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0830 (UTC+10)    
Location   (show map): at sea off Vavouto, New Caledonia   Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation  
State: International    
Release date: 17 February 2011    
Report status: Final   Occurrence category: Accident  
  Highest injury level: Fatal  

Vessel details

Vessel details
Vessel Cape Darnley  
Flag Liberia  
IMO 9231145  
Type of operation General cargo  
Damage to vessel Nil  
Departure point Vavouto, New Caledonia  
Destination Brisbane, Qld  
Last update 14 November 2018