Historically, chemical tankers are inspected by third-party surveyors prior to loading the next nominated cargo, and in many cases that involves tank entry and the taking of wall wash samples to determine cargo tank suitability. The sampling involves “washing” a small area of the tank to remove any residual contaminants and Surveyors (and ship’s crew during the cleaning operation) must enter each tank to carry out this testing.
Given the tanks must meet wall wash specifications prior to arrival at a loading port, seafarers are required to make multiple confined space entries during each tank cleaning operation.
“Confined space entry has accounted for a number of fatalities on board tankers in past years. We have achieved the reduction of enclosed and confined space entry by shifting the focus of the testing from condition on the bulkhead to the condition of the wash water. Ref Dorte Creaven, General Manager, MOL Chemical Tankers Europe A/S.