The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a Safety Alert in an effort to prevent explosions during barge cleaning operations.
After reviewing recent casualty incidents, the Coast Guard said too many explosions have occurred as a result of personnel failing to follow safe procedures as specified in operational manuals. Company officials are responsible for ensuring that proper safety practices are followed during tank cleaning, stripping or gas freeing involving flammable cargo.
U.S. regulations require that these operations be consistent with the International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals (ISGOTT).
The Coast Guard strongly urges companies to ensure that personnel who conduct tank cleaning operations are suitably trained and hold the required endorsements. The vessel should be properly grounded by a bonding wire. Any tools or machinery that may produce sparks should be removed from the vicinity, and other vessel activity should be minimized nearby to reduce possible ignition sources. Portable fans and blowers used for ventilation should be grounded and intrinsically safe.
Below is the Coast Guard’s full Safety Alert: